The New Gods vol. 3 #1 featuring Orion.
Cover art by Paris Cullins.
|First appearance||New Gods #1,
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer & artist)|
|Place of origin||New Genesis,
|Team affiliations||New Gods
Jack Kirby Era
Orion originally appeared in Jack Kirby's three Fourth World titles published in the early 1970s, New Gods, Mister Miracle, and The Forever People. When the titles were subsequently canceled, Orion and his fellow New Gods characters were unseen until DC returned to the Fourth World concept a few years later.
Return of the New Gods
Following an appearance in the final issue of 1st Issue Special, DC revived both the New Gods and Mister Miracle series, continuing the numbering from the original series. The new stories were done without Jack Kirby and featured a number of changes of concept for the character of Orion. Gone were the "Astro Harness" and the character's trademark helmet. Instead, the character wore a more standard superhero costume with a yellow mask. The New Gods title was again canceled in 1978 but the story was wrapped up in two issues of Adventure Comics featuring a "final battle" between Orion and his Father, which saw Darkseid supposedly annihilated.
This version of Orion returned in a three issue arc of Justice League of America in which most of the New Gods were captured by the forces of Apokolips. Orion and his fellow New Gods, Metron, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda, summoned the aid of the Justice League and Justice Society, to aid them in freeing the forces of New Genesis. This story featured the return, and eventual defeat, of Orion's father.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Orion was featured in the 1989-90 series New Gods (vol.3) and served a short stint in the Justice League along with his friend Lightray during the Keith Giffen/J. M. DeMatteis run. Orion returned as a main character in New Gods (vol.4) which was later relaunched as Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Orion again served as a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's tenure on the title, but the character would not receive his own title until 2000.
Orion was a series penciled and written by Walt Simonson, centered around the eponymous character and which ran for 25 issues (June 2000-June 2002). John Byrne filled in as penciller for the main stories in issues 13 and 14. Issues 1-5 were reprinted by DC Comics in the trade paperback The Gates of Apokolips. Also included as reprints were portions from the Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant, issue #1 and the Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant, issue #2.
A backup that ran consistently in the Orion book was "Tales of the New Gods". Simonson invited fellow artists and, on occasion, writers to provide a short story often supplementing the issue's main action.
Fictional character biography
Orion is the second son of Darkseid, half brother of Kalibak and Grayven, and the husband of Bekka. As a child, he was traded for Scott Free in a peace effort between New Genesis and Apokolips. Raised as the son of Highfather Izaya, he was taught to control his rage and anger, becoming the most powerful warrior either world has ever known. This in itself was not an easy task given that his heritage boiled with the rage of the brutal and merciless Darkseid. Learning how to control his dark nature consumed much of Orion's youth, but as he grew, his friends among the New Gods helped him direct his anger. Orion counts among his friends Lightray, Metron, Jezebelle, Scott Free, Big Barda, and Forager. He is a hero dedicated to the ideals of New Genesis. His fighting skill and stamina have earned him the nickname "The Dog of War".
The 25 issue Walt Simonson series was designed to follow the continuity of the original Fourth World series, and was published after John Byrne's "Jack Kirby's Fourth World" series ended. To flesh out the series, characters such as Fourth World stalwarts Lightray, Darkseid, Desaad, and Kalibak, in addition to lesser used characters such as Tigra (early on in the series), Mortalla, and the Newsgroup Legion (an update of the Newsboy Legion) often supplied aid or ill intentions to the quick tempered Orion.
During Simonson's series, Orion was able to obtain the Anti-Life Equation, the source Darkseid was in search of. He then went to Apokolips and confronted Darkseid about his birth, and fought for control of Apokolips. He refused to use the Anti-Life Equation due to issues of pride and earning his destiny unaided. He defeated Darkseid and gained control of Apokolips. With the Anti-Life Equation, Orion went to Earth to begin creating intergalactic peace. He turned Earth into a utopian world that began disrupting the balance of the universe. It was revealed that Darkseid, alongside Metron, allowed Orion to defeat him, so he could understand the potential of the Anti-Life Equation.
Orion has served two terms with the Justice League. He first demanded to join the League alongside his friend Lightray They were accepted into the ranks and stayed on until after the battle with the Evil Eye. Later, he and Big Barda were sent as agents of New Genesis to serve in the JLA. During his time in the League, Orion helped to defeat the returned Starro when its actions put almost the entirety of North America to sleep, and also aided Green Lantern, Steel, Plastic Man, and Barda in capturing a White Martian that had regained its original memory. On one occasion, when he and some of the other Leaguers were abducted by the apparently insane Adam Strange as part of a plot to defeat a telepathic race, Steel was forced to steal Orion's Mother Box and use it as a telepathic shield; Orion was so enraged that the Mother Box was devoting too much energy to keeping him calm to do anything else. However, Orion and Barda's central mission was to help mobilize Earth's heroes against the coming of the omnipotent Mageddon. Once again, Orion abandoned his Mother Box, giving it to Oracle while he confronted Mageddon at full ferocity, Oracle using it to set up a telepathic online network that could coordinate the heroes as they fought to stop the wars that Mageddon's presence was inciting. Once Mageddon was defeated, he and Barda resigned.
Years later, Orion returns to Earth via Boom Tube for his final battle with Darkseid. During the massive fight, Orion ultimately kills him by ripping his heart out, creating a firepit of Apokolips from Darkseid's chest cavity in reference to the prophecy of their final battle. As Darkseid dies, a battered, wounded Orion walks away from the battlefield having "won" the battle against his father once and for all.
However, Darkseid's life essence endured even the death of his body and fell back in time, where he was reborn as "Boss Dark Side". Aided by his resurrected minions and the super-villain Libra, Darkseid successfully unleashed the Anti-Life Equation onto humanity and in the process, dragged Earth outside time and space, threatening the entire multiverse in the process. From this point, Darkseid sought his revenge against his son by firing a time travel-based gun backwards in time to kill Orion once and for all. The bullet killed Orion, who by this point had realized that his father and his fellow evil New Gods still lived and were now possessing human beings as host bodies. With his last strength, Orion warns the man who finds his dying body, Detective Dan "Terrible" Turpin, that "They are not dead- He is in you all." His final command, appropriate for the Dog of War, is for humanity to "Fight..." before he finally dies.
Ironically, Darkseid's murder of his son would ultimately backfire on him. Green Lantern John Stewart would recover the bullet used to kill Orion and give it to Batman, who would ultimately be forced to mortally wound Darkseid with the very same bullet Darkseid used to kill his own son; an irony Superman pointed out, when he described the murder of Orion as "suicide" on Darkseid's part, due to the fate of the bullet.
While many of the Gods from New Genesis were reborn following Final Crisis, Orion is not among them. Metron is seen standing over his astro-harness in effigy.
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Orion has appeared as a recurring character in the Wonder Woman title. After consulting with the Source, he first joins Wonder Woman in her search for a child which was abducted by the gods of Olympia.
Powers and abilities
Orion possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability, on par with his father Darkseid, as well as with Superman. Although he is a highly skilled warrior noted for a fierce warrior's instinct his great rage also makes him impulsive. He has access to a Mother Box that can calm his temper and change his appearance, "smoothing" out his coarse features. In addition, Orion also possesses a regenerative healing factor, and is able to call upon his Mother Box to assist in healing injuries or to sustain his life energies. Like all other New Gods, Orion is vulnerable to a substance called Radion. The "Astro-Harness" is an alien artifact of unknown origin, capable of self-repair; flight at incredible speeds; inter-spatial and inter-dimensional travel; energy projection and absorption; force field generation; and possesses a tractor beam. Orion's wristbands are also virtually indestructible.
Orion also is able to harness an interdimensional energy called the "Astro Force". While Orion himself is a conduit for the Astro Force, he can use either the Astro Harness or his wristbands as a valve through which he can project this energy. He uses the Astro Force primarily as a weapon, but once he was shown to be able to use the Astro Force to create an energy shield powerful enough to deflect Darkseid's otherwise unstoppable "Omega Effect". Like his father and all members of the Fourth World, Orion is immortal.
In addition to his mainstream incarnation, Orion has been depicted in other fictional universes. In the graphic novel Kingdom Come, Orion has overthrown Darkseid and is the reluctant ruler of Apokolips, his aged and battle-scarred appearance is similar to that of his father's. In the Mister Miracle series of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, Orion is a large, muscular African-American man, seen pushing Metron's wheelchair. The satirical miniseries Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, Orion is a dog named Orihound.
In the Tangent Comics imprint, Orion is a superpowered being with transwarp powers that allow him to transport himself, others and objects anywhere on earth. He can transport beings across the Bleed into other universes with the aid of an additional power source such as Green Lantern Power Rings. He currently aids the Superman of Earth-9.
In other media
- Orion appears in Superman: The Animated Series (1996) episodes Apokolips...Now! part 1 & 2, voiced by Steve Sandor.
- Orion appears in the Justice League episodes "Twilight" part 1 & 2 voiced by Ron Perlman. He is depicted as being very serious when it comes to facing threats and fighting criminals. When he first appears in "Twilight," Orion helps the Justice League at the time when Darkseid was collaborating with Brainiac. He also makes a short cameo in "Hereafter" as an attendant of Superman's funeral.
- Orion has made cameos in Justice League Unlimited voiced again by Ron Perlman. In "The Return" as one of the many heroes in the first line of defense against Amazo. In "Flash and Substance," Orion helps Batman at the time when Flash was being targeted by Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, and Trickster. When it came to the bar where Flash's villains go to unwind, Orion tried to use torture to interrogate Trickster only for Flash to intervene and get some answers out of Trickster. Orion joins Batman and Flash when it comes to battling Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, and Mirror Master at the Flash Museum. Strangely, though, he is nowhere to be seen in the finale "Destroyer". In an odd bit of mishandled editing, Orion is seen as one of the heroes confronting Luthor's survivors at the end of "Alive!" But when the scene is replayed in the teaser of "Destroyer", Orion has been removed. When it is shown a third time, over the closing credits, Orion is back in the picture again.
- In the final season of Smallville, during the episode "Dominion" it is mentioned that the last time Darkseid came to Earth he was defeated by a warrior named Orion, leaving behind a weapon known as the Bow of Orion. In the following episode Orion is confirmed to be Darkseid's son who managed to turn away from the darkness of his father with the help of another person who raised him to embrace the light.
- Although he doesn't make an appearance, Orion is referenced in the animated film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman travel to Apokolips with the help of Big Barda. Upon arrival, Batman makes use of an Astro-Harness, identical to the one used by Orion.
- A statue of Orion's head is seen in the outside area of the Hall of Justice stage in the 2013 game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- Apokolips, Orion's birth planet
- Bekka, Orion's wife
- Darkseid, Orion's father
- Highfather Izaya, Orion's adoptive father
- Jack Kirby, Orion's creator
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World, Orion's fictional setting
- List of New Gods
- Mother box
- New Genesis, Orion's adoptive home
- New Gods, Orion's people
- Conway, Gerry (w), Newton, Don (p), Scotto, Augie (i). "Climax of Chaos" Adventure Comics 459 (September 1978), DC Comics
- Conway, Gerry (w), Newton, Don (p), Scotto, Augie (i). "Pursuit to Eternity" Adventure Comics 460 (November 1978), DC Comics
- Conway, Gerry (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Crisis on New Genesis or Where Have All the New Gods Gone?" Justice League of America 183 (October 1980), DC Comics
- Conway, Gerry (w), Pérez, George (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "'Crisis Between Two Earths' or Apokolips Now!" Justice League of America 184 (November 1980), DC Comics
- Conway, Gerry (w), Pérez, George (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Crisis on Apokolips or Darkseid Rising!" Justice League of America 185 (December 1980), DC Comics
- Cowsill, Alan; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "2000s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Comic book legend Walt Simonson brought his unique vision to one of Jack Kirby's greatest heroes on Orion, the first ongoing series to feature the most prominent of the New Gods."
- Justice League of America #42, Sept. 1990
- Justice League of America #50
- JLA #17, April 1998
- Ibid #41
- Wonder Woman #12
- "Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe" (Vol. 1) VI
- The Death of the New Gods
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia
- JLA: The Ultimate Guide to the Justice League of America
- Orion #21 (cover date Feb. 2002)
- Orion #7 (cover date Dec. 2000)
- "Smallville Dominion Season 10, Episode 19, Aired 4/29/11". TV.com. Retrieved December 30, 2011.