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|First appearance||Detective Comics #483 (May 1979)|
|Created by||Denny O'Neil|
|Alter ego||Maximilian "Maxie" Zeus|
|Team affiliations||The New Olympians|
Maximilian "Maxie" Zeus is a villain appearing in DC Comics. He is a criminal mastermind who believes that he is the god Zeus. He is an occasional enemy of Batman. He first appeared in Detective Comics #483 (April–May 1979).
Maxie Zeus is a former history teacher who loses his mind when his wife leaves him. He becomes a gangster and uses his cunning and intelligence to rise to power amidst the chaos in Gotham City's underworld. He fights Batman on several occasions before being committed to Arkham Asylum.
Because Maxie seems less dangerous than the Joker, Two-Face, and other notorious Arkham inmates, Arkham's administrators do not commit him in the maximum security wing, despite repeated recommendations from Batman to do so (Batman and the Outsiders #14). Batman's concern is proven warranted when Maxie escapes to form a team of Greek Mythology-based superhuman agents called the New Olympians. He attempts to kidnap Olympic athlete Lacinia Nitocris and force her to marry him and become a mother to his daughter Medea. This plot is foiled by Batman and the Outsiders, who beat the Olympians in a series of Olympic-style games.
Some time later, however, he is drawn into a plot engineered by the children of Ares — Deimos, Phobos — and Eris (Ares' sister) to merge Gotham City with Ares' throne capital, the Aeropagus. The intent is re-establish Ares' rule on earth. Maxie is killed as a result of that plot, and his sacrifice brings about Ares' return. However, their scheme is foiled by Wonder Woman, Batman and their allies, and Ares himself banishes his children back to Tartarus.
In issues of Robin, a vigilante called Violet is trying to track down an illegal casino named "Maxie's", with chips bearing a Zeus-like profile. Presumably, Maxie has survived his encounter with the Children of Ares. After Violet is discovered by Zeus's guards, both Robin and Violet manage to escape unharmed, as detectives that Robin was working with on the case raid the casino and arrest Zeus, who surrenders without a fight after an officer physically threatens him.
Maxie returns in Kevin Smith's Batman: Cacophony. Apparently cured of his delusions, he has been hired by the Joker to use Joker Venom on random people on April First as an April Fool's Day joke, but instead mixes the poison with ecstasy to produce a new designer drug called "Chuckles". He uses the profits to fund his empire as well as building his dream of creating a public school that is run like a private school. The Joker, angry that his creation is being used for a noble purpose, swears revenge against Maxie. After witnessing the death of his nephew and a dozen other children when the Joker blows up a school, Maxie suffers a psychotic break and reverts to his Zeus persona. After Batman rescues him from an attack by the Joker at a nightclub, he visits Maxie again at his penthouse. After temporarily restoring Maxie's sanity with a massive dose of antipsychotics, Batman convinces him to confess and turn himself in to the police. This move is later revealed to be part of Batman's plan to lure the Joker and Onomatopoeia out of hiding.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
An electrified, emaciated version of Maxie Zeus appears in the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Batman finds him connected to the electroshock therapy room of Arkham Asylum, perpetually receiving electrical currents, which he believes to be "fire from heaven". On the one occasion in the story in which he and Batman cross paths, he compares himself to the supreme gods in many mythologies. He also does not recognize Batman, warmly addressing him as "a pilgrim". Early drafts of the script describes Zeus as resembling his original comic book counterpart, but with female breasts and genitalia crudely drawn on his filthy toga.
In other media
- Maxie Zeus appears in Batman: The Animated Series voiced by Steve Susskind. He is depicted as a shipping tycoon with underworld connections. He carries a metal rod in the shape of a thunderbolt (shown in the picture at right), which he uses to electrocute his victims into unconsciousness. In his debut episode "Fire From Olympus", he loses his mind after recovering from a serious financial crisis and a criminal conviction for smuggling; he develops a god complex and starts to believe that he is the Greek god Zeus, and that his girlfriend is the muse Clio. When Batman arrives at the top of his building, Maxie believes he is Hades, as "no mortal can reach 'Mount Olympus" without his permission, and even calls the Caped Crusader his "brother". Maxie steals an electric cannon, which he uses on "pitiful mortals" who dare to oppose him. When Clio tries to stop him, he has her gagged and bound to the barrel of the lightning gun by his henchmen, though she is saved by Batman before she can be killed. Maxie is eventually subdued by Batman with help from Clio. While being dragged through Arkham Asylum, he looks at the prisoners watching him and believes that he sees a Greek deity in their place: the Joker is Hermes the trickster god, Two-Face is the "double-faced" Janus (actually a Roman god), and Poison Ivy is the goddess Demeter. His last line is "Now at last, Mighty Zeus is home.
- Maxie Zeus first appears in The Batman episode "Thunder" voiced by Phil LaMarr. In this interpretation, he wears high-tech armor with gloves that generate electricity. The gladiator armor suit he wears is more similar to Roman mythology than Greek. It is also notable that this version of the character despises being called "Maxie", preferring "Maximilian". Maxie here is an eccentric multimillionaire and owner of Zeus Industries, who is obsessed with Greek mythology. He runs for mayor against Marion Grange, but loses the election after announcing his plan to revolutionize the Gotham City Police Department after his own gladiator-themed security forces. Angered by his defeat, Maxie rides in his airship New Olympus in order to make Gotham City his own personal kingdom. Batman and Batgirl defeat Maxie Zeus where New Olympus "became the New Atlantis." In "Rumors", Maxie Zeus reappears as one of the many villains captured by the villain Rumor.
- Though Maxie Zeus does not appear in Batman: Assault on Arkham, a box with his tools is found by King Shark along with Firefly's tools and Killer Moth's tools.
- Maxie Zeus appears as an unlockable bio in Batman: Arkham Asylum. His cell (which contains a book on Greek mythology and has Greek symbols drawn on the wall) is found adjacent to the asylum's ECT room in the Intensive Treatment's Patient Pacification Center.
- Maxie Zeus's nightclub The Gotham Olympus can be found in Batman: Arkham City. Scanning the statue at the front's lightning bolt will unlock an Arkham City Story explaining that Maxie has disappeared after a few electro-shock therapy sessions. Despite his status, his nightclub continues to run on schedule.
- In The Batman Adventures (a comic series based on the animated series), Maxie Zeus escapes Arkham several times and teams up with villains such as Lex Luthor and Ra's al Ghul to destroy Gotham. Each time, he is foiled by Batman and Robin and returned to Arkham.
- In an issue of The Batman Strikes!, Maxie joins a group of villains led by the Joker. However, it is revealed that this is a simulation created by Batman to train Robin. On a later issue, Maxie goes on a criminal rampage alongside Ragdoll, Spellbinder, and Everywhere Man, but is defeated by Batgirl.
- Batman and the Outsiders #14
- Batman #491
- Maxie Zeus at DC Comics Wiki