|First appearance||Forever People #2 (May 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
|Notable aliases||Doctor Dezard|
DeSaad is a fictional comic book 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.
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 Amazons Women 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 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
Desaad is immortal as all New Gods are. He is a brilliant inventor of weapons for killing and torture. Perhaps his most spectacular achievement was "Happyland", an amusement park that, behind the scenes, actually 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.
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 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 still manages to bring Oliver under Darkseid's influence. Later in Season Ten, 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. It is unknown if this version of Desaad gained these powers from Darkseid himself or from some other dark energy.
- 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 the film Justice League: War voiced by Bruce Thomas. He appears somewhat deformed, but retains a basic human shape. He is the only resident of Apokolips besides Darksied not to be a Parademon. He persuades Darkseid to invade when the heroes begin finding the Mother Boxes. Once Superman is captured, DeSaad attempts to convert him into a Super-Parademon. However, thanks to Batman's interference, the process is prevented, although a berserk Superman does strangle DeSaad to death first.
- Desaad appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. He is featured in the downloadable content.
- DeSaad was included in Series 12 of Mattel's DC Universe Classic toys, patterned after his appearance in the earlier Kenner Super Powers Collection.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Demons Three", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 98, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- 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)
- OAFE - DC Universe Classics 12: Desaad review