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Kalibak from Jack Kirby's Fourth World #9,
artist John Byrne,
|First appearance||New Gods #1, (February 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer & artist)|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
|Notable aliases||Kalibak the Cruel, The Scourge of Apokolips|
Kalibak is a fictional deity and supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Kalibak is the eldest son of Darkseid and one of the main enemies of Superman and the Justice League of America.
Fictional character biography
Kalibak is the first-born son of Darkseid and Suli. His mother Suli is killed by Desaad, acting under orders from Kalibak's grandmother Queen Heggra. Kalibak becomes a legendary warrior, and often serves as Darkseid's second-in-command. After Darkseid breaks the pact of peace with New Genesis, the rival planet of Kalibak's home Apokolips, he aids his father in the resulting battles.
Kalibak is often pitted against Orion, and after numerous clashes they learned that they were half-brothers. This fuels Kalibak's hatred of Orion to new levels, for Darkseid clearly values Orion over his first-born. Unlike Orion, Kalibak secretly craves the love and respect of his father - something neither he, nor anyone else, can ever hope to attain - and it has been shown that he has a gentle side which is completely submerged under his brutish exterior, and which he consistently and fearfully keeps hidden for any sign of weakness is, on Apokolips, subject to the cruelest punishment.
For his part, Darkseid is more lenient towards Kalibak's failures than those of his other servants; having slain him, he always returns him to life. It is implied this is because his eldest son is the offspring of the one person Darkseid truly loved.
At one point, Kalibak is desperate enough to confront Orion without Darkseid's consent. Kalibak's scheme fell apart and he kills his accomplice Desaad, also a servant of Darkseid, to cover his tracks. Darkseid was not pleased when he finds out and reduces his son to a pile of ash. After enough time had passed Darkseid resurrects Kalibak, hoping the boy had learned a lesson.
Kalibak later spends some time in an Apokolips prison, on Darkseid's orders. In Orion #1, (June 2000), Darkseid is on Earth when Orion invades Apokolips. Justeen, a servant of Desaad, releases Kalibak to battle Orion yet again. Kalibak is swiftly subdued, but does not care much as Orion leaves to battle Darkseid and Kalibak hopes to gain power as a result.
During the universe-wide Genesis incident, Apokolips forces, including Kalibak, invade Earth. In Young Heroes in Love #5, Kalibak and his small squad of Parademons are defeated by the leader of the Young Heroes, the telekinetic and telepathic Hard Drive.
In Final Crisis the new Fifth World and human version of Kalibak appears alongside Darkseid (calling himself Dark Side) seemingly reborn in a new form alongside his father and a human Kanto. This form is later replaced with a humanoid tiger-like form, engineered by Simyan and Mokkari. He is seen devouring a Green Lantern named Opto. He leads a regiment of tiger soldiers against the heroes in Blüdhaven, but he is killed in combat with Tawky Tawny. Before he dies, he begs his soldiers to help but they refuse as they only follow the strong. They then bow to Tawny as Kalibak dies.
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Kalibak is a loyal follower of Darkseid, backing him up in a war against the Anti-Monitor. He does have a problem with slaying Apokolips soldiers that literally get in the way between him and the enemy.
Powers and abilities
Kalibak possesses incredibly high levels of superhuman strength, endurance, and durability. Despite his great size, Kalibak is actually fast and agile. Like all beings of the Fourth World he is immortal. Kalibak is a highly trained hand-to-hand combatant known on Apokolips for his savagery. He is armed with a Beta-Club, a weapon that fires force bolts or nerve beams that causes living beings agonizing pain beyond comprehension. It is nearly indestructable, though Orion once destroyed it with some assistance from Lightray. He can also summon and use aero-disks which allow him to fly. Kalibak also has access to high-tech weapons of mass destruction. Physically, Kalibak is one of the strongest gods on Apokolips, and the most loyal to Darkseid. This is what makes Kalibak an indispensable member of Darkseid's Elite. Kalibak possesses incredible levels of superhuman strength almost on par with Superman, Orion, and even Darkseid himself.
In other media
- Kalibak appeared in the last two incarnations of the original animated series, Super Friends voiced by Frank Welker. His appearance was not as brutish as later TV incarnations, more like the original Jack Kirby design for the character. He was almost always depicted as boastful, dull-witted and ineffectual against the heroes.
- Kalibak was featured on Superman: The Animated Series, where he was voiced by Michael Dorn. Like in the comics, he seeks to earn his father's approval. He appears in "Father's Day" where he, Desaad, and Bruno Mannheim watch Superman fight one of Desaad's robots. He even pleaded to his father to fight Superman, but Darkseid denied that. Desaad later sneaks him to Earth so that he can fight Superman. Kalibak and Superman fight it out in Metropolis, ironically on Father's day. Darkseid later finds out about this even when he forced the answers out of Desaad. Superman managed to send Kalibak flying into the nearby park. By the time Superman caught up with Kalibak, Darkseid arrived and withdrew Kalibak back to Apokolips with the Omega Effect. In the "Apokolips...Now" two-parter, he takes part in Darkseid's invasion of Earth. In "Legacy" Pt. 2, he fights Superman again when he breaks free from Darkseid's brainwashing.
- In Justice League, Michael Dorn reprised his role of Kalibak in the second season premiere, "Twilight". He later returned in "Hereafter" as a member of the Superman Revenge Squad in a plot to kill Superman. His brute strength allows him to defeat Wonder Woman, but he is then thwarted by Batman until Superman arrives, who knocks him out in one punch. During a second attack, he ended up engaging Lobo in battle and lost when Lobo buried him beneath an enormous pile of cars, forcing him to literally cry 'Uncle'.
- In Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid's death created a power struggle on Apokolips, with Kalibak as Darkseid's son, whoever could bend him to their will could claim control of the planet. Granny Goodness appeared before Mister Miracle and Big Barda to free Kalibak from the X-Pits (where Virman Vundabar was holding him) in order for Granny Goodness to release Oberon from her clutches. With the help of the Flash, they freed Kalibak, only to trick Granny Goodness with Martian Manhunter, who had shape-shifted into a copy of Kalibak. Flash was able to free Oberon in time, Granny Goodness was defeated, and Kalibak was returned to a prison on Earth, in an attempt to prolong the power struggle on Apokolips.
- Kalibak appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Knights of Tomorrow!" voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley. He along with the Parademons hunt down Question after he discovers Darkseid's plans to invade Earth. In "Darkseid Descending!", he invades Earth to prepare for his father's arrival.
- An alternate universe version of Kalibak makes a non-speaking cameo in Justice League: Gods and Monsters.
- Kalibak appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Travis Willingham.
- Kalibak appears as a defeatable boss at the New Genesis level in DC Universe Online.
- "Young Heroes In Love" #5 (October 1997)
- Final Crisis #4 (2008)
- Justice League #43-45 (2015)
- The Death of the New Gods
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia
- New Gods #8 (May 1972)