|First appearance||Forever People #2 (May 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
|Notable aliases||Doctor Dezard, God of Torture, Grand Director |
DeSaad (also spelled Desaad) is a fictional supervillain, appearing in books published by DC Comics. He is one of the followers of Darkseid from the planet of Apokolips in Jack Kirby's Fourth World meta-series.
As DeSaad serves as Darkseid's master torturer, his name refers to Marquis de Sade. At one point DeSaad had an assistant named Justeen, a reference to de Sade's novel Justine, although she bore little resemblance to the title character.
Steve Byers portrayed DeSaad in the television series Smallville. The character will make his cinematic debut in Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021), portrayed through voice and motion capture by Peter Guinness.
Fictional character biography
DeSaad's first recorded appearance in the history of the DC Universe was as a hanger-on at the side of Drax, heir to Apokolips. He had already taken his "god-name," which he claimed to have taken in tribute to a being from the future "who has taught me much in my chosen field."
DeSaad's origins were revealed during Darkseid's chess game with Eclipso. After Eclipso told Darkseid of how he had caused the Biblical flood, Darkseid shared how he had corrupted an innocent youth by tricking him into believing the youth's cat had killed his other pet, a bird. Goading the boy to avenge the bird, Darkseid manipulates the youth into burying the cat alive. The bird returned, having flown off, and in a rage, the youth killed the bird and left New Genesis to become Darkseid's lackey.
DeSaad appeared to be helping Drax with his attempt to master the Omega force. In fact, he was plotting with Drax' brother Uxas. As a result, Drax was presumed killed, and Uxas mastered the Omega Force, taking the god-name Darkseid. DeSaad went on to serve as Darkseid's torturer.
DeSaad is a sadist and a coward. He is naturally treacherous, but is sufficiently afraid of Darkseid that he will not turn against his master unless someone else takes the lead (and will probably switch sides again if it looks like they will fail). He spent some time posing as Darkseid to keep Intergang going. While Darkseid had been involved with Intergang as part of his search for the Anti-Life Equation, DeSaad simply wanted to cause suffering.
DeSaad was seemingly killed during an attempt by Darkseid to penetrate the Source. He was subsequently found to have "bonded" with Orion, causing the latter to become cruel and manipulative. They were later separated. While missing, his second-in-command Justeen plots to overthrow DeSaad's position and become closer to her beloved Darkseid.
In the Superman/Batman story "Torment," DeSaad is tasked by Darkseid to retrieve Highfather's staff from the Source Wall, and use it to restore Darkseid's waning powers. Working with the Batman villain Scarecrow he brainwashes Superman. However, when the time came to recharge Darkseid's powers, using the staff as a conduit to the Omega Realm, DeSaad betrays Darkseid and tried to take the power for himself. The Omega Effect, however, possessed a horror within it that DeSaad could not stand, and Darkseid simply siphoned the energy off him.
At the end of issue #25 of Countdown to Final Crisis DeSaad, who had captured and tortured Professor Martin Stein, is able to take over the mantle and the power of Firestorm for himself. He is defeated and separated from the Firestorm matrix by the Atomic Knights, but flees before he could be captured. After disrupting a battle between Darkseid and Mary Marvel, DeSaad gives Darkseid a compound that was unsuccessfully used to access the Anti-Life Equation. DeSaad is then released from Darkseid's service. However, DeSaad has transported the Pied Piper to Apokolips as Brother Eye arrives. DeSaad claims the Piper can channel the Anti-Life Equation and control the planet. Before the Piper can do so, Brother Eye finishes assimilating Apokolips. After recovering, DeSaad confesses to masterminding Trickster and Piper's ordeal. However, they are attacked by an OMAC and Piper is captured. DeSaad continues to pursue Piper and convinces him to finally play. However, Piper's first act is to try to kill DeSaad.
Also during Countdown in issue #837 of Detective Comics, it is revealed that he is supplying the Amazon Women's Shelters with special drugs from Apokolips.
In Salvation Run, it is revealed that DeSaad oversees the training of the New Gods of Apokolips on a planet where Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad had dumped the exiled villains. When he discovers them on this planet, he arranges for the Parademons to eliminate the least powerful villains so that he can train the stronger ones for an unknown goal. Ultimately, the villains escape back to Earth.
Following Death of the New Gods many of the fallen Apokoliptan gods had taken on human forms. DeSaad, posing as "Doctor Bud Fogel" raising the public against Lex Luthor's Everyman experiments, eventually trapping and capturing Infinity, Inc. This version of DeSaad has been seen in the Terror Titans miniseries, conditioning the Infinitors to fight in The Dark Side Club's metahuman tournament. After the brainwashed superhumans break free of the Anti-Life Equation and begin to destroy the arena, DeSaad is electrocuted and captured by Static.
In Final Crisis #6, it is revealed that Mary Marvel has been possessed by DeSaad. It is not known what has happened to DeSaad after Freddy Freeman as the new Shazam changes Mary to normal in the same issue. In Final Crisis: Secret Files, it was revealed that he was the one who brought Libra back to cohesion after the villain disembodied himself using a Transmortifier device.
The New 52
During Darkseid's first incursion on Earth during The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), DeSaad appears in Apokopolis discussing with Steppenwolf about cloning the DNA of a captured and tortured Superman for a new race of Parademons. Five years later, he impersonates Michael Holt attempting to capture Power Girl.
Powers and abilities
Although DeSaad doesn't have great powers, he is still immune to all diseases, toxins and is extremely long-lived. He is also stronger and more resistant than a human of his weight and build. DeSaad is a brilliant inventor of weapons and master of torture. DeSaad has created a lot of torture machines and devices. His most spectacular achievement is "Happyland", an amusement park that served as a prison for his victims. The prisoners were anguished over the seeming indifference of the park's customers to their plight unaware that DeSaad's technology caused the visitors to see them as something other than what they were. As the closest Darkseid assistant, DeSaad is familiar with the functioning and resources of the planet.
The New 52
In the New 52, DeSaad reappears with the status of a New God, but much more powerful and showing new abilities. DeSaad is strong and resistant enough to lift several tons easily and can face powerful beings like Power Girl. In addition, he has a high level of invulnerability and is functionally immortal. The new DeSaad's powers include telepathy, absorption and control of emotions. DeSaad is able to enter people's minds to manipulate their emotions and feed on their worst feelings, even without manipulating them becomes more powerful. He has demonstrated the ability to create illusions, either in its real form, or in the form of other people. Another of his powers is the absorption of energy, he can feed on different types of energy and even manipulate it, as was demonstrated when it absorbed energies from a particle accelerator on Earth-2. Although it isn't explained, DeSaad can open a "Boom Tube" to other dimensions at will, only when he is at maximum power.
- In the Elseworlds story, Justice League: The Nail, DeSaad is among others observing the Earth's defense shields destroying a cadre of Parademons on Apokolips. 
In other media
- DeSaad appeared in two of the 1980s incarnations of the Super Friends animated series, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, voiced by René Auberjonois.
- The character also appeared in the 1990s Superman animated series episode "Father's Day", voiced by Robert Morse. One of his robotic creations is destroyed by Superman. He later tricks Kalibak into disobeying Darkseid and going to Earth to fight Superman. When Darkseid learns that Kalibak went to Earth to fight Superman, he forced the answers out of DeSaad about this.
- DeSaad appears in Justice League where René Auberjonois reprised the role, but portrayed the character in a more serious fashion than the depiction in Super Friends. In "Twilight", DeSaad's careless criticisms of Darkseid's most recent military action to gain the Anti-Life Equation (which Darkseid had already afforded him considerable leeway in voicing) earns Darkseid's wrath and a quick death from his Omega Beams for questioning his orders.
- DeSaad appears in the Young Justice episode "Disordered", voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is somewhat deformed as shown by his face and hands. He is shown as a supplier of Apokolips weapons to Intergang. When it came to a warehouse storing Apokolips weapons, DeSaad threw the Father Box into the formation of Infinity-Man in order to control him and has Infinity-Man attack Superboy and Wolf. When Superboy and the New Genisphere reclaim control of Infinity-Man, DeSaad retreats back to Apokolips. In "Endgame", DeSaad and Godfrey (a new minion or prophet of Darkseid) are with Vandal Savage on Apokolips when Vandal Savage meets with Darkseid.
- DeSaad appears in Justice League Action episode "The Fatal Fare", voiced by Jason J. Lewis. He and Kanto prepare to lead Apokolips' forces to invade Earth only for Superman to stop them with a virus that affected their Mother Box which sends them to the moons of another planet. Upon enlisting Space Cabbie to take him there, Darkseid arrives where DeSaad and Kanto are torturing Superman into learning what virus was used on the Mother Box. When Space Cabbie returns with Hawkman and Swamp Thing, DeSaad is defeated by Swamp Thing. In the episode "Superman's Pal, Sid Sharp," DeSaad assists Granny Goodness, Kalibak, and Kanto into luring Superman into a Kryptonite trap after the Parademons accidentally apprehend Daily Bugle reporter Sid Sharp. When Superman falls into the Kryptonite trap, Sid Sharp causes Darkseid's four minions to compete to see who would inform Darkseid about the trap working. Darkseid arrives as Superman breaks free from the trap and evades DeSaad, Granny Goodness, Kalibak, and Kanto. Upon Superman and Sid Sharp escaping with DeSaad's Mother Box, Darkseid plans to punish DeSaad for his failure only to be interrupted by Kalibak asking if he is still getting a hug.
- DeSaad appears in the film Justice League: War, voiced by Bruce Thomas. DeSaad is shown informing Darkseid of the Mother Box used by Cyborg and in charge of the process that transforms other captured species into Parademons. He is later killed by a mind-controlled Superman who was captured and underwent the process but was stopped by Batman and Superman's will.
- An alternative universe version of DeSaad makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in Justice League: Gods and Monsters.
- DeSaad appears in the film Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League, voiced by James Arnold Taylor.
- DeSaad appears in the final season of Smallville as one of Darkseid's minions. He is played by Steve Byers. He owns a string of fetish clubs known as "Club DeSaad". DeSaad first appears in the episode "Abandoned" alongside Darksid's other minions, Gordon Godfrey and Granny Goodness where they discuss their plan to prepare Earth for Darkseid's arrival and how to serve their master: Granny wipes the people's minds, DeSaad binds the people's bodies, and Gordon breaks the people's spirits. In "Masquerade", he was in charge of killing several people who were resistant to Darksied's corruption. He battles Clark Kent and Oliver Queen and is temporarily subdued and committed to Belle Reve although he still manages to bring Oliver under Darkseid's influence. Later in the season, DeSaad again teams up with Godfrey and Granny Goodness to give Oliver Queen a gold kryptonite wedding ring in hopes of taking Clark's powers away forever but Clark manages to remove Darkseid's influence from Oliver. In the series finale, as Apokolips eclipsed the Earth, Granny, DeSaad, and Gordon were destroyed by Oliver Queen using special arrows. In this version of the character, DeSaad possessed telekinesis and other mental abilities that he used to manipulate and corrupt people using the seven deadly sins and their own pre-existing weaknesses, then branding them with a hidden Omega brand. He can also sense darkness or sin in a person making them easier to corrupt and has the power to dispose of "incorruptibles" or people unaffected by darkness by making their brains hemorrhage, causing them to bleed from the orifices on their face, and using other painful mental attacks. This DeSaad has a limited version of heat manipulation which he demonstrated by burning the Omega Brand into the ground in one episode.
DeSaad originally appeared in Justice League (2017), in which he was portrayed through voice and motion capture by Peter Guinness. However, these scenes were later removed from the theatrical version. His appearance will be restored for Zack Snyder's director's cut of the film, Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021).
- Desaad appears as DLC for Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.
- Desaad is also in the ending cutscene for Darkseid in Injustice 2. He was the one who tortured Supergirl after Superman was killed by Darkseid.
- Desaad is a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- O.M.A.C. (Volume 4) #1-4
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Demons Three", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 98, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Eclipso #10
- Orion #1 (June 2000)
- Salvation Run #1-7 (November 2007 – June 2008)
- Infinity, Inc. (vol. 2)
- Justice League Vol 2 #6 (April 2012)
- Worlds' Finest Vol 1 #11 (June 2013)
- Justice League: The Nail #1
- Kingdom Come #2
- Thorion of the New Asgods #1
- Colbert, Stephen M. (November 7, 2019). "Justice League: Zack Snyder's Cut Cast Darkseid's Servant Desaad". Screenrant. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- Jacobs, Eammon (August 22, 2020). "'Justice League' Zack Snyder Cut Trailer Reveals Darkseid & DeSaad". HeroicHollywood. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
- Dandy, Jim (August 22, 2020). "Justice League: DeSaad Revealed in Snyder Cut Trailer". denofgeek. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
- OAFE - DC Universe Classics 12: Desaad review