Maxima (comics)

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Maxima
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Action Comics #645
(September 1989)
Created by Roger Stern
George Pérez
In-story information
Team affiliations Justice League
Superman Revenge Squad
Abilities Superhuman Strength
Superhuman Speed
Superhuman Endurance
Invulnerability
Flight
Telekinesis
Empathy
Telepathy
Hypnosis
Optical Force-Beams
Force Field-Generation

Maxima is a fictional character from the DC Comics Superman titles. She was created by writer Roger Stern and artist George Pérez.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Oldest child of the Royal family of the planet Almerac, the fiery-tempered Maxima came to Earth in search of a suitable mate to sire her heir, leaving behind Ultraa, her betrothed. Maxima's first appearance in Metropolis was not actually her but a simulacrum of her brought to Earth by her servant Sazu, who took it upon herself to convince Superman to be her mate. The simulacrum was destroyed and Sazu imprisoned. The real Maxima then appeared to free Sazu and came face to face with Superman. She and Superman, she argued, were genetically compatible; she could "give him what no Earth woman could - children". She was infuriated when Superman rejected her offer, saying he had no desire to father despots.[2]

Maxima later found herself reluctantly working with Brainiac who had destroyed Almerac with the Warworld. She turned against him, and helped Earth's heroes defeat him, subsequently joining a reformed Justice League for her own reasons. When the League helped her save Almerac from Starbreaker, the planet's ruling council exiled her. As a Leaguer, she helped in the fight against Doomsday, and when that version of the League disbanded, she became a member of Captain Atom's Extreme Justice team.[3] She considered Captain Atom as a potential mate, but he was not interested. During the period of her flirtation with Captain Atom, an jilted Ultraa angrily attacked him. Maxima eventually stopped the brawl and sent Ultraa back to Almerac. She later had a brief fling with another teammate, Amazing-Man, which lasted until the team was dissolved.

She offered herself sexually to Superman again, hoping that her recent good deeds would offset her earlier ruthlessness.[4] Superman, now married to Lois Lane, was even less interested in her proposal than before. Angry and humiliated, she joined the Superman Revenge Squad. She swore that Superman had rejected, humbled and humiliated her for the last time, and threatened that the next time they meet, it would truly be war.[5]

However, in her next appearance, during the build up to the Our Worlds at War crossover, Maxima and the 'Chosen People of Almerac', as she phrased it, showed up in Earth's solar system where they met up with Superman and fellow JLA member, Green Lantern. Superman and Green Lantern were just beginning to investigate the disturbing disappearance of Pluto and the even more distressing ion engine trail associated with Warworld, when they stumbled across Maxima, her people, and the supervillain Massacre.

After a battle full of wounded pride, Maxima eventually conceded her position when Almerac's rendezvous showed up using a Boom Tube. She explained that she was leading her people to safety from Imperiex, the force that conquered her world. Massacre had seemed to meet his death,[6] however, somehow Maxima came across him and described her association in these words: "Massacre serves only me now."[verification needed] To save her people, she allied herself with Darkseid's son, Grayven, who was taking them to regions unknown. This was also being undertaken without the knowledge of Darkseid. Maxima left Superman with the following words: "Mark my words, when Imperiex comes for your precious homeworld, you'll see alliances you've never dreamed of."[verification needed]

All that Maxima warned eventually came to fruition as she and a myriad of other characters (both heroes and villains) formed alliances with Earth and Apokolips in an effort to destroy Imperiex.[7]

Maxima ultimately met her demise in a heroic effort to put her ship between the destructive beams of Brainiac 13's Warworld which would have resulted in the destruction of the entire universe.[8] [9]

Personality and motivations[edit]

Overall, portrayal of Maxima varied by writer. In her appearances in the various Superman titles, Maxima was typically depicted as a haughty and shallow individual with only self-centered motivations, lacking any real depth as a character. By contrast, in her appearances in the comic book series Extreme Justice and Steel, Maxima was developed as an individual with a warrior's sense of honor and a strong countenance of noble pride that had its humorous moments in relation to other characters. This was evident during Extreme Justice #10 and #11, where Maxima hosted the bachelorette party for Captain Atom's fiance, Plastique, wearing a stylish and elegant "red carpet" dress while everyone else wore jeans to the event that was held in the party room of a humble Tex-Mex restaurant. This occurred again in later issues of that series, where she's visibly uncomfortable from seeing newly joined members, Zan and Jayna, gorge themselves on jelly donuts, hamburgers, French fries, and other assorted junk foods at a mall food court.

Powers and abilities[edit]

As a scion of the Blood Royale of Almerac, Maxima commands a vast array of immense psionic powers that come from selective breeding and years of gene therapy which she can utilize in a variety of ways. In her first face to face encounter with Superman[10] she displayed a high level of psionic powers, such as psychokinesis and seemingly hypnotic mind control. Maxima can use her psionic powers to give herself superhuman strength, enough to prove an effective opponent in hand-to-hand combat with Superman. She also has enhanced stamina, as well as some degree of superhuman speed.[10] Through skillful application of her psionic powers Maxima has been shown to emit powerful optical beams that can stagger even Superman, and she can create nearly impervious force fields. In the first battle with Doomsday in Adventures of Superman #498, Maxima is the only one in that incarnation of the Justice League that was able to actually hurt and withstand blows from Doomsday, besides Superman.

Other versions[edit]

An alternate history where Superman marries Maxima after Lois dies was presented as an Elseworlds story[11] that was part of the Armageddon 2001 crossover in which Waverider looked at possible futures of DC characters.[11] In this scenario, Superman is overcome with grief from the death of his wife Lois Lane, after their unborn child causes her death from internal bleeding when it kicks in her womb. Apparently, even a half-Kryptonian child was too much for a normal Earth woman to bear. Blaming himself and grief-stricken, Superman exiles himself from Earth once again, and is ready to die in space when he comes across one of the many enemies of Almerac. He is saved by Maxima, who at this time is unwillingly engaged to the Krenon cyborg De'Cine. Following on the advice of her handmaiden Sazu, she pretends to become more tactful and 'nice' in order to win Superman's heart, but in the process, she truly falls in love with him. At the end, she and Superman leave Earth forever to protect it from a potential reprisal from the Krenon Empire after the death of De'Cine. As they leave, Maxima remarks what fine children they would have.

In other media[edit]

Superboy[edit]

Main article: Superboy (TV Series)

A character similar to Maxima[original research?], called Neila, appeared in the episodes "Neila" and "Neila and the Beast", played by Christina Moore.

In her two appearances on the series, Neila displayed a wide array of superhuman powers, including superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, and flight (all of which were at least equal to those of Superboy), as well as pyrokinetic generation and manipulation, teleportation (whether this is an actual power of Neila's or it was accomplished through the use of alien technology was never revealed), and minor shape-shifting powers that enabled her to alter her hairstyle and the color of her hair.

Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)[edit]

Maxima appeared in the episode "Warrior Queen", voiced by Sharon Lawrence. According to the official episode description[citation needed], "Maxima, Queen of Almerac, chases Superman as a potential mate. She takes the Man of Steel up to her planet, where, as she prepares to marry him, Superman educates Maxima that a mate isn't something to take, but a person who is won over and loved." Maxima is not impressed and literally drags Superman to her planet, only to find herself deposed, largely due to Almerac's inhabitants believing her to be self-absorbed and neglecting her leadership responsibilities. Superman also helps to keep Maxima's "because I can" attitude in check by teaching her consent of the governed in that as Queen of Almerac she exists to serve the people of Almerac, not vice versa. Superman helps Maxima regain her throne, and she allows him to return home. Fortunately, whatever disappointment she has is quickly dispelled by the sudden arrival of the destructively rambunctious bounty hunter, Lobo whom she judges with giddy delight as an adequate substitute to woo in her violent way.

Some modification was made to the character in her animated interpretation. Her appearance keeps her original colors from the comics although her clothing seems reminiscent of Jack Kirby's character designs[citation needed]. Her personality seems more whimsical. Finally, of her myriad powers, only her strength and durability remained, and she was also seen to be capable of metal manipulation (seen when she turned a piece of metal into a sword and opening teleportational portals with a high-tech bracelet).

De'Cine (voiced by Miguel Ferrer) also changed from an alien cyborg to an Almeracian courtier.

Smallville[edit]

Main article: Smallville

Maxima (Charlotte Sullivan) comes to Earth to seek a Kryptonian mate after her home planet of Almerac receives a signal that originated from a Kryptonian artifact. Not knowing who sent the signal, she begins kissing random strangers; her kiss causes heart rates to peak, killing human males, but Clark Kent's Kryptonian physiology registers only arousal. After a violent confrontation, she states that she can sense love between Clark and Lois Lane. However, Maxima believes that she and Clark are "soul mates" and refuses to give up, until Clark triggers her teleport bracelet to take her home.

Unlike her comics counterpart, she did not display telekinesis. She displayed superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, mind control, the aforementioned toxic kiss and empathic powers.

Maxima appeared in "Instinct", the fourth episode of Season 8.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First appearance: Action Comics #645 — released September 1989
  2. ^ Action Comics #652
  3. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008). "Extreme Justice". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017. 
  4. ^ Superman: The Wedding Album, Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7
  5. ^ Superman: Man of Tomorrow #10
  6. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #106
  7. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #115
  8. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #117
  9. ^ The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2004. p. 199. ISBN 0-7566-0592-X. 
  10. ^ a b Action Comics #651
  11. ^ a b Adventures of Superman Annual #3.
  12. ^ Al Septien & Turi Meyer (writers) & James Conway (director) (2008-10-09). "Instinct". Smallville. Season 8. Episode 4. The CW.