Kanto, artist Jack Kirby
|First appearance||Mister Miracle vol. 1 #7,
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer and artist)|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
Kanto is a fictional extraterrestrial assassin published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mister Miracle vol. 1 #7 (March/April 1972), and was created by Jack Kirby. Kanto was allegedly modeled after Renaissance nobleman Cesare Borgia, but his appearance was "patterned after Errol Flynn in a film still."
Fictional character biography
As a student of Granny Goodness's on Apokolips, Iluthin, Kanto's name at the time, is accused of stealing weaponry from Darkseid's then-master assassin Kanto 13 and others. Iluthin is punished, not for the stealing, but being caught. He first faces a gauntlet of fellow students, defeating them with ease.
Against the wishes of Kanto 13, Iluthin is exiled from Apokolips to Renaissance-era Earth by Darkseid. There he trains under Italian teachers and falls in love with a woman named Claudia. Kanto 13 tracks Iluthin to Earth and kills Claudia at the couple's wedding altar. Iluthin defeats Kanto 13 in battle. Darkseid comes to Earth and destroys Kanto 13 for his failure. Iluthin returns to Apokolips as Darkseid's new assassin.
When Mr. Miracle returns to Apokolips, he faces Kanto who captures him, taking him to Granny Goodness. Kanto dresses in a quasi-Renaissance fashion, possibly to imply both the artistic pride that he has in his assassin's work and the presence of royal court intrigue. Perhaps this attire fuels his nihilism by reminding him of his murdered love. Of all the foes Mr. Miracle faced during Kirby's run with the character, Kanto harbors a sort of professional respect with Mr. Miracle.
During writer John Byrne's Genesis comic mini-series, Kanto encounters Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, the one-time Wonder Woman, and it is revealed that Kanto had been not only her teacher but a lover as well. As Artemis was trapped in a demon dimension alongside her Amazonian sisters from age fourteen to twenty-four and was not shown with Kanto until the Genesis storyline, speculation about this alleged affair suggests time travel. While mutually amorous, the tryst was apparently unconsummated since Artemis, during Mike Deodato's Requiem mini-series, claimed to be a virgin.
When New Gods are being slaughtered across the galaxy, Kanto is recalled to Apokolips where he faithfully serves Darkseid's, voicing private concerns with Granny Goodness.
Kanto has since appeared serving Darkseid, going by Boss Dark Side at the time, and Kalibak. The three inhabit human hosts posing as businessmen in the Dark Side company and brainwash gifted Earth children. It is suggested that their host bodies burn out easily.
He remains in Darkseid's service.
Powers and abilities
Kanto is renowned as a master of weapons. He is equally adept at the use of weapons of Earth's Italian Renaissance, such as swords, and at the use of the advanced technological weaponry created by the scientist of Apokolips. Except perhaps of Darkseid himself, Kanto is unequaled on Apokolips as a cunning strategist in devising methods of hunting and assassinating victims. He considers his work an art. As one of the New Gods, Kanto is extremely long-lived and has superhuman strength, resistance, agility and reflexes. Also, Kanto is a trained athlete and fine hand-to-hand combatant.
In other media
- Kanto appeared in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series voiced by Michael York, being that series' first glimpse of the New Gods. In that episode, he supplied Intergang with weapons from Apokolips they can use to kill Superman. After Intergang failed, Kanto retreated back to Apokolips, with Bruno Mannheim desperately following him where Bruno ended up meeting Darkseid.
- Kanto later appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Alive" voiced by an uncredited Corey Burton. He along with Mantis serve as lieutenants for Virman Vundabar in his power struggle with Granny Goodness when Darkseid (following his death at the end of the Justice League episode Twilight) returns putting an end to the war.
- Michael York reprised his role as Kanto in the video game Superman: Shadow of Apokolips.
- Ro, Ronin. Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution (Bloomsbury, 2004)
- Final Crisis #1