Warning: contains spoilers for Infinite Frontier #0!
In a stunning end to DC’s Infinite Frontier #0, the super-villain Darkseid just unveiled himself at the center of the new Omniverse, slaughtering the godlike Quintessence before declaring his new mission to end all of creation. DC has promised that its new Infinite Frontier will be a place of infinite wonder, infinite possibility, and infinite terror, and that promise was paid off in the final pages of this anthology of stories launching the comic giant’s bold new era.
Created by the legendary Jack Kirby, Darkseid is a god-like force of oppression and control. When Dark Nights: Death Metal ended on twin mysteries: that Darkseid was missing, and that there were two new planets at the center of creation, fans began to speculate these concepts were linked. One planet was named as an Alpha World, and Infinite Frontier confirms its twin is Earth Omega – originally intended as Darkseid’s prison, but now the site of his horrifying rebirth.
The issue follows Wonder Woman as – following her rescue of all creation – she ascends to the next plane of existence, invited to join DC’s other ultimate protectors in the Quintessence. Wonder Woman was told there would be a terrible price to go with the infinite potential of the new Omniverse, and unable to find it while visiting her friends, Diana elects to turn down the Quintessence and return to Earth as a mortal hero. In the final scene – from Joshua Williamson, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson – it turns out the Quintessence were keeping the secret of the darkness Wonder Woman sought until she joined them, convening on Earth Omega to gloat over how it’s a problem that’s already been solved. Which is when Darkseid swats all five of them like flies.
What’s important to note about Darkseid’s return is that he is now a unified being – a combined version of every Darkseid who existed in DC’s prior realities, and therefore powerful on a scale never seen before. Cutting down the heroes who thought him destroyed, Darkseid declares himself the final chapter, modifying his chilling creed, “Darkseid is,” with a terminal refrain: “Darkseid is… THE END.” Some fans will be disappointed to see Darkseid return as DC’s greatest villain, but the choice is a smart one. Darkseid has always worked best as a monolith – an expression of huge ideas and grand finality rather than an individual with grudges and petty goals. This new Darkseid is one who has seen his own triumph and defeat many times over, and enters Infinite Frontier honed to a terrifying edge. While the lingering threat of the Unkindness in the far future means there’s still a flashy new villain to stop, Darkseid’s reincarnation is an example of DC playing the classics and hitting every note.
Darkseid’s ambitions now apply to the vast sprawl of DC’s ever-multiplying Omniverse, meaning he’s unlikely to leap straight into a fight, but will begin machinations that should trouble every being in existence. While Wonder Woman’s hope for the future likely saved her from falling with the rest of the Quintessence, it also robbed her of the knowledge that Darkseid was back and more of a threat than ever, meaning it will likely be up to the Totality – a new team of heroes and villains assembled to address threats from the Omniverse – to investigate Earth Omega and hopefully discover the horror that’s been unleashed.
After years of ambitious new villains like Perpetua and the Darkest Knight, it’s great to see Darkseid back at the top of the heap of DC villainy, likely helped by his relevance to Jack Snyder’s vision for DC’s cinematic universe. No other villain truly inspires the sense of awe that surrounds Darkseid at his best, helping to communicate the huge new scale of the Infinite Frontier – for better or for worse.