Interior artwork from Superman Villains Secret Files and Origins 1 (June 1998 DC Comics)
Art by Amanda Conner
|First appearance||Action Comics #645|
|Created by||Roger Stern|
|Team affiliations||Justice League International|
Superman Revenge Squad
Ability to emit powerful optic blasts
Force field generation
Maxima (//) is a fictional comic book character in DC Comics. She is known for searching for mates among Earth's superpowered male population; as a result, Superman becomes her obsession. Morally ambiguous, she occasionally serves both as an adversary for Superman and a superheroine working as a member of the Justice League.
Fictional character biography
Oldest child of the Royal family of the planet Almerac, the fiery-tempered Maxima came to Earth in search of a suitable mate to sire her heir, leaving behind Ultraa, her betrothed. Maxima's first appearance in Metropolis was not actually her but a simulacrum of her brought to Earth by her servant Sazu, who took it upon herself to convince Superman to be her mate. The simulacrum was destroyed and Sazu imprisoned. The real Maxima then appeared to free Sazu and came face to face with Superman. She and Superman, she argued, were genetically compatible; she could "give him what no Earth woman could - children". She was infuriated when Superman rejected her offer, saying he had no desire to father despots.
Maxima later found herself reluctantly working with Brainiac who had destroyed Almerac with the Warworld. She turned against him, and helped Earth's heroes defeat him, subsequently joining a reformed Justice League for her own reasons. When the League helped her save Almerac from Starbreaker, the planet's ruling council exiled her. As a Leaguer, she helped in the fight against Doomsday, and when that version of the League disbanded, she became a member of Captain Atom's Extreme Justice team. She considered Captain Atom as a potential mate, but he was not interested. During the period of her flirtation with Captain Atom, a jilted Ultraa angrily attacked him. Maxima eventually stopped the brawl and sent Ultraa back to Almerac. She later had a brief fling with another teammate, Amazing-Man, which lasted until the team was dissolved. While part of the Extreme Justice team she joined with other heroes on a trip to Hell itself, mistakenly believing that Superman was trapped there. During the battle, Maxima fell and was lost in one of the 'Nine rings'. She was sent back to Earth when Neron, the current ruler of Hell, was subdued.
She offered herself sexually to Superman again, hoping that her recent good deeds would offset her earlier ruthlessness. Superman, now married to Lois Lane, was even less interested in her proposal than before. Angry and humiliated, she joined the Superman Revenge Squad. She swore that Superman had rejected, humbled and humiliated her for the last time, and threatened that the next time they meet, it would truly be war.
However, in her next appearance, during the buildup to the Our Worlds at War crossover, Maxima and the 'Chosen People of Almerac', as she phrased it, showed up in Earth's solar system where they met up with Superman and fellow JLA member, Green Lantern. Superman and Green Lantern were just beginning to investigate the disturbing disappearance of Pluto and the even more distressing ion engine trail associated with Warworld, when they stumbled across Maxima, her people, and the supervillain Massacre.
After a battle full of wounded pride, Maxima eventually conceded her position when Almerac's rendezvous showed up using a Boom Tube. She explained that she was leading her people to safety from Imperiex, the force that conquered her world. Massacre had seemed to meet his death, however, somehow Maxima came across him and described her association in these words: "Massacre serves only me now."[verification needed] To save her people, she allied herself with Darkseid's son, Grayven, who was taking them to regions unknown. This was also being undertaken without the knowledge of Darkseid. Maxima left Superman with the following words: "Mark my words, when Imperiex comes for your precious homeworld, you'll see alliances you've never dreamed of."[verification needed]
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, a younger, revamped Maxima is briefly introduced in Supergirl issue #36 as a distinguished member of the Crucible Academy, an intergalactic organization that trains some planets' finest specimens to become their planets' protectors. She spends the next few issues bonding with Kara before eventually revealing in issue #40 that she is emotionally and sexually attracted to Kara; Maxima's homosexuality is the reason she left her homeworld and the demands of her culture to find a heterosexual partner to produce children with.
An alternate, adult Maxima who resembles the more traditional pre-Flashpoint version of the character in both appearance and personality later showed up as a villain. The adult Maxima is a former Almeracian soldier who kidnapped the younger Maxima and stole her name after believing that the girl's unwillingness to deny her homosexuality by taking on a male partner made her unworthy of her royal title and heritage. The new Maxima was later defeated and imprisoned by the combined might of Supergirl, Superwoman and the younger Maxima.
Personality and motivations
Overall, portrayal of Maxima varied by writer. In her appearances in the various Superman titles, Maxima was typically depicted as a haughty and shallow individual with only self-centered motivations, lacking any real depth as a character. By contrast, in her appearances in the comic book series Extreme Justice and Steel, Maxima was developed as an individual with a warrior's sense of honor and a strong countenance of noble pride that had its humorous moments in relation to other characters. This was evident during Extreme Justice #10 and #11, where Maxima hosted the bachelorette party for Captain Atom's fiancé, Plastique, wearing a stylish and elegant "red carpet" dress while everyone else wore jeans to the event that was held in the party room of a humble Tex-Mex restaurant. This occurred again in later issues of that series, where she is visibly uncomfortable from seeing newly joined members, Zan and Jayna, gorge themselves on junk food at a mall food court.
Powers and abilities
As a scion of the Blood Royale of Almerac, Maxima commands a vast array of immense psionic powers that come from selective breeding and years of gene therapy which she can utilize in a variety of ways. In her first face to face encounter with Superman she displayed a high level of psionic powers, such as psychokinesis and seemingly hypnotic mind control. Maxima can use her psionic powers to give herself superhuman strength, enough to prove an effective opponent in hand-to-hand combat with a resurrected Superman or hold her own against the even stronger Doomsday. Maxima can increase her strength to an unlimited degree, pushing her past those in her tier. She also has enhanced stamina, as well as having such a degree of superhuman speed that she could easily move faster than the speed of light and proven herself to be able to keep up with speedsters such as the Flash. Through skillful application of her psionic powers Maxima has been shown to emit powerful optical beams that can severely injure even Superman, take out Orion with one bolt, and she can create nearly impervious force fields. She is also capable of teleporting herself and others across vast distances, even from other worlds, which was demonstrated when she brought her adviser Sazu to Earth from a prison world. In the first battle with Doomsday in Adventures of Superman #498, Maxima is the only one in that incarnation of the Justice League besides Superman who was able to actually hurt and withstand blows from Doomsday. Her various abilities and powers make her a threat potentially for the entire Justice League.
An alternate history where Superman marries Maxima after Lois dies was presented as an Elseworlds story that was part of the Armageddon 2001 crossover in which Waverider looked at possible futures of DC characters. In this scenario, Superman is overcome with grief from the death of his wife Lois Lane, after their unborn child causes her death from internal bleeding when it kicks in her womb. Apparently, even a half-Kryptonian child was too much for a normal Earth woman to bear. Blaming himself and grief-stricken, Superman exiles himself from Earth once again, and is ready to die in space when he comes across one of the many enemies of Almerac. He is saved by Maxima, who at this time is unwillingly engaged to the Krenon cyborg De'Cine. Following on the advice of her handmaiden Sazu, she pretends to become more tactful and 'nice' in order to win Superman's heart, but in the process, she truly falls in love with him. At the end, she and Superman leave Earth forever to protect it from a potential reprisal from the Krenon Empire after the death of De'Cine. As they leave, Maxima remarks what fine children they would have.
In other media
- A character similar to Maxima called Neila, appeared in the Superboy episodes "Neila" and "Neila and the Beast", portrayed by Christine Moore. In her two appearances on the series, Neila displayed a wide array of superhuman powers, including superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, and flight (all of which were at least equal to those of Superboy), as well as pyrokinetic generation and manipulation, teleportation (whether this is an actual power of Neila's or it was accomplished through the use of alien technology was never revealed), and minor shape-shifting powers that enabled her to alter her hairstyle and the color of her hair. In "Neila", Princess Neila comes to Earth and challenges Superboy to a fight to test her worthiness to be her husband, saying her people are weak and she desires a strong man. They battle to a draw, but Superboy rejects her because of his commitment to Earth and because of her arrogance in looking down on ordinary people. When Neila notices the feelings between Superboy and Lana Lang, she disguises herself as an ordinary woman and meets with Lana to learn more about her, but she eventually snaps and tries to murder her before Superboy arrives. When Lana proves willing to sacrifice herself so that Superboy won't have to hold back, Neila is moved and admits she had underestimated the strength of ordinary people, then returns to her home planet. In "Neila and the Beast", Neila returns and asks for Superboy's help because rebels on her home planet had assassinated the royal family and are coming after her with weapons that can harm the likes of them. She is also being chased by a Sasquatch-like creature whose strength rivals theirs. After battling the creature a few times, Superboy learns that the creature is actually an incorporeal alien who inhabits dead bodies. It had fallen in love with Neila and merely wanted to win her over with strength and ferocity. Neila goes on a date with a seemingly ordinary man, but he turns out to be one of the rebel assassins and tries to kill her. Superboy and the creature step in and the creature kills the assassin, but his body is irreparably damaged. Superboy convinces the alien to inhabit the assassin's body, and Neila falls in love with him.
- Maxima appeared in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Warrior Queen", voiced by Sharon Lawrence. Her appearance keeps her original colors from the comics. Her personality seems more whimsical. Finally, of her myriad powers, only her strength and durability remained, and she was also seen to be capable of metal manipulation (seen when she turned a piece of metal into a sword as well as making a steel girder that Superman used to bind her with disappear and opening teleportational portals with a high-tech bracelet). De'Cine (voiced by Miguel Ferrer) also changed from an alien cyborg to Maxima's Almeracian courtier. She chases Superman as a potential mate. Maxima takes the Man of Steel up to her planet, where, as she prepares to marry him, Superman educates Maxima that a mate isn't something to take, but a person who is won over and loved." Maxima is not impressed and literally drags Superman to her planet, only to find herself deposed, largely due to Almerac's inhabitants believing her to be self-absorbed and neglecting her leadership responsibilities. Superman also helps to keep Maxima's "because I can" attitude in check by teaching her consent of the governed in that as Queen of Almerac she exists to serve the people of Almerac, not vice versa. Superman helps Maxima regain her throne, and she allows him to return home. Whatever disappointment she has is quickly dispelled by the sudden arrival of the destructively rambunctious bounty hunter Lobo whom she judges with giddy delight as an adequate substitute to woo in her violent way.
- Maxima appears in the Smallville season 8 episode "Instinct", portrayed by Charlotte Sullivan. She comes to Earth to seek a Kryptonian mate after her home planet of Almerac receives a signal that originated from a Kryptonian artifact. Not knowing who sent the signal, she begins kissing random strangers; her kiss causes heart rates to peak, killing human males, but Clark Kent's Kryptonian physiology registers only arousal. After a violent confrontation, she states that she can sense love between Clark and Lois Lane. However, Maxima believes that she and Clark are "soul mates" and refuses to give up, until Clark triggers her teleport bracelet to take her home. Unlike her comics counterpart, she did not display telekinesis. She displayed superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, mind control, the aforementioned toxic kiss and empathic powers.
- Maxima appears in the Supergirl episode "Myriad", portrayed by Eve Torres Gracie. She is depicted as the Queen of Almerac who once came to Earth to make Superman her mate. Maxima was thwarted in that plan and was incarcerated at the D.E.O. Headquarters. Some time later, Maxima attempts to escape with the help of the D.E.O. agents including Lucy Lane (under the influence of Myriad) before Supergirl manages to stop her.
Maxima appeared in the animated film DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games. She appears as a student from Korugar Academy competing in the Intergalactic Games. Also, she doesn't have speaking lines in film.
Maxima debuted in Season 4, Episode 21 of DC Super Hero Girls Tamaranean Dance Club Part 1, with the rest of Korugar Academy.
- First appearance: Action Comics #645 — released September 1989
- Action Comics #652
- Beatty, Scott (2008). "Extreme Justice". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Underworld Unleashed #1-3 (Nov. - late Dec. 1995)
- Superman: The Wedding Album, Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7
- Superman: Man of Tomorrow #10 (March 1998)
- Superman (vol. 2) #106
- Superman: The Man of Steel #115
- Superman: The Man of Steel #117
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2004. p. 199. ISBN 0-7566-0592-X.
- "Supergirl Adds Maxima to DC's LGBT List". Bleeding Cool. March 23, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Superwoman #14
- Action Comics #651
- Adventures of Superman Annual #3.
- Al Septien & Turi Meyer (writers) & James Conway (director) (2008-10-09). "Instinct". Smallville. Season 8. Episode 4. The CW.