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|First appearance||Adventure Comics #361 (October 1967)|
|Place of origin||Dominion homeworld|
The Dominators, collectively known as the Dominion, are a fictional alien race appearing in comics and other media by DC Comics. Coming from the outer cosmos of the DC Universe, they are highly technologically advanced, and live in a rigid hierarchical society, in which one's caste is determined by the size of a red circle on one's forehead. They are master geneticists who can manipulate the metagene to enhance members of their own caste.
Their first appearance was in 1967, in Adventure Comics #361, a story written by Jim Shooter with art by Curt Swan and Jim Mooney, in which they are presented as possibly dangerous to the Legion of Super-Heroes, but do not pose an actual threat. They appeared again in Legion of Super-Heroes #241–245 in the late 1970s, as an adversarial race in an interstellar conflict with Earth in the 30th century.
In 1988 and 1989, they were revived as the villains of the "Invasion!" crossover event involving many of DC's superhero comics set in the present, written primarily by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo and featuring art by Todd McFarlane. Giffen also featured the characters as major villains in the Legion series he was writing with Tom and Mary Bierbaum.
Originally depicted having light blue skin with a white circle on the forehead denoting their social rank, their later more villainous designs with yellow skin and a red circle – introduced in the 1970s and accentuated in the 1980s – has drawn comparisons to "Yellow Peril" stereotypes of east Asians, citing features such as "bald heads, slanted, narrow eyes, long, claw-like fingernails, and dressed in robes."
The Dominators were the primary world behind an Alien Alliance that attacked Earth. Their primary motivation for this was their concern at the genetic potential of humanity, as evidenced by the large number of super-powered beings on the Earth of the DC Universe, also known as the metagene. When the Invasion started to crumble, one Dominator created a 'gene-bomb' and detonated it in Earth's atmosphere that would affect many heroes and villains that possess the metagene.
After the Invasion, a nameless Dominator played a significant role in the comic book one shot Blasters. This comic features heroes created by Dominator testing; they had wished to examine just how humans tended to gain superpowers. This testing involved running humans through a murderous obstacle course on the partly correct theory that the stress would active their 'meta-genes' and cause superpowers. The 'Blasters', which included former JLA mascot Snapper Carr, are the ones who did gain powers.
In events chronicled in Legion Annual v4 #2, Valor discovered plans for a second invasion of Earth, and thousands of humans held in genetic experimentation tanks. He led a lengthy campaign to liberate them, aided by some of the Dominators (the Diamond Caste) who opposed the policies of their ruling caste. After freeing them, Valor helped settle these modified humans on various worlds which eventually became many of the homeworlds of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, such as Bismoll, Cargg, Braal, amongst others.
Several Dominators were left on Earth for years and appeared in various comics (usually briefly). One Dominator would come under the control of the Queen Bee, presently the ruler of Bialya (Justice League Europe #4). Though this alien does not survive for long, its technology would cause trouble for the Justice League and the Global Guardians. Others appeared in Captain Atom #52 (the Dominator became a farmer), in the Outsiders #44, in Iron Heights prison in Flash[volume & issue needed], a mutated Dominator with potent psionic abilities would battle members of the Green Lantern Corps, including Guy Gardner in Green Lantern Corps #7 - 9, and most recently in Superman #668.
The Dominator homeworld fell under siege from the massive horde of Starro the Conqueror. The Dominators at first put up an admirable defense of their planet, however the tide soon turned against the Dominators when Starro himself entered the fray. In the end, the Dominator homeworld fell to Starro and its entire population were converted into Starro's mindslaves, with the exception of a single Dominator Fleet Admiral who had enough individuality to realize the planet was doomed and fled, and became a member of Vril Dox's R.E.B.E.L.S. seeking to defeat Starro.[volume & issue needed]
The Dominators fought a long war with the United Planets in the 30th century. Several attempts to establish peace were made. During the Dominators first appearance in Adventure Comics #361, several members of the Legion escorted a Dominion diplomatic team to secret talks, and had to fend off attacks from the Unkillables; descendants of people from Earth and their leader who was another Dominator who was opposed to peace (in this appearance the Dominators were depicted with blue skin as opposed to their later and current yellow hue).
"Five Years Later"
The Dominators were the primary opposing force in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) during its first three years of publication. As depicted therein, the Dominion was able to secretly gain control of the Earth Government (Earthgov) in the aftermath of a galaxy-wide economic collapse. Their primary motivation was still the genetic potential of humans, and they conducted numerous experiments in secret underground chambers. Their role was known only to a few, including Dirk Morgna (Sun Boy), a now former Legionnaire who was hired by the Dominator controlled EarthGov as a public relations liaison.
Due to constant harassment by Earthgov the Legion eventually disbanded, but the Dominators continued to fear its possible reformation, so they freed mass murderer Roxxas from prison and armed him with instructions to kill the former Legion members. He started by killing Blok, but ironically his actions actually helped cause the Legion to reform.
As safeguards against losing Earth the Dominion laced a series of nuclear explosives in the (inhabited) Moon. This backfired when an insane Dev-Em seized control of the system, and though he was prevented by the members of the Legion and a time-lost Superman from detonating it, one of the Linear Men eventually did, causing a huge catastrophe on Earth. The Dominion attempted to blame the explosion on Khund saboteurs, but their control of Earth started to slip. The Earth was eventually liberated from Dominator control, although some of the Dominators actions while they controlled Earth eventually lead to the destruction of the planet.
Following the Zero Hour reboot, the Dominators played a less significant role in Legion history. The Dominion was one of the core members of the Affiliated Planets ruled by the new Dark Circle. Their representative to the Circle, like the others, was killed by the Dark Circle's leader, Brainiac 4, for opposing her plans.[volume & issue needed]
In the "Threeboot" version of Legion continuity, the Dominators were inspired to invade Earth when a time travelling Booster Gold inadvertently led them to believe that fifty-two planets were planning an attack on the Dominion. They managed to seize control of Earth's technology, and sent genetically modified warriors (created using gene grafts from the former members of Terror Firma) through a stargate. The Legion, with the help of the Wanderers, managed to defeat this armada.[volume & issue needed]
The Dominators still had thousands of super-powered troops at their disposal, and would eventually regroup. Under the orders of Cosmic Boy, Mon-El detonated a bomb that seemingly destroyed them. In fact, it imprisoned their entire planet in the Phantom Zone.[volume & issue needed]
In the DC Adventures comics based on the DCAU, three Dominators appeared in Justice League Adventures #21 ("Sanctuary") by John Ostrander & Min S. Ku. They were chasing a telepathic Earth girl named Kayla Ardeen whom they claimed was an escaped mind controller. She seeks the Justice League's help, however there is a conflict about whom to trust as the Dominators as well as Kayla are new to them. Conflict escalates, but eventually, with the help of Batman and Martian Manhunter, it is revealed that the Dominators are manipulating the Justice League and carry out experiments on those they consider as lesser species. The Justice League with their collective willpower ultimately defeat the Dominators. Kayla decides not to seek sanctuary but take the fight back to the Dominators.
In other media
Legion of Super Heroes
The Dominators (also referred to as the Dominion) appear on the Legion of Super Heroes animated series. They form an alliance with Imperiex and become part of his army throughout the season. They try to help him build a superweapon, powered by a strange cloud of cosmic energy. The Legion eventually defeat them, along with Validus and Mekt Ranzz. They later helped Imperiex create a missile that will lead other missiles to Chameleon Boy's home planet.[episode needed]
The Dominators appear as antagonists in a 2016–17 crossover event involving the CW TV series Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, which takes inspiration from Invasion!. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim stated that "cutting-edge prosthetics and computer effects" would be used for the Dominators "to achieve a feature film-quality look which is faithful to Invasion! artist Todd McFarlane's interpretation of the characters."
In the course of the storyline, it is revealed that the Dominators' counterparts experimented on Krypton in the parallel universe where the television series Supergirl is set. Their language and culture has common features with Earth's, which they visited in 1951 and made a treaty with the United States government to limit the scope of metahuman activity that might threaten the Dominators.
After attempting to eliminate the heroes by taking control of their minds and trapping Team Arrow in a mental hallucination to interrogate them, the Dominators are revealed to have actually come to Earth because Barry Allen changed history. They want Barry handed over to them to ensure that further disruptions cannot take place. However, the other heroes refuse to let Barry sacrifice himself, joining forces to keep the Dominators occupied while Barry and Kara plant devices on the Dominators intended to cause them great pain. The Dominators' attempts to deploy an anti-metahuman bomb are prevented when Sara Lance and Cisco Ramon hold the bomb in place long enough for Firestorm to turn the bomb into water. With their efforts defeated, the Dominators are forced to flee.
The Dominators make a cameo in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, as one of the first races in the universe. They attack other worlds and the Guardians create the Green Lantern Corps in response to their threat.
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- Legion of Super-Heroes (Vol. 4) #38, Late December 1992.
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