Steppenwolf in Earth 2 #1 (July 2012).
Art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott
|First appearance||New Gods #7 (February 1972)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
|Notable aliases||General of Apokolips|
Steppenwolf is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Jack Kirby and made his first appearance in New Gods #7 (February 1972). Steppenwolf (which is German for "Steppe wolf") is one of the New Gods, the uncle of the supervillain Darkseid, the brother of Heggra, the great-uncle of Kalibak and Orion, and a member of Darkseid's Elite.
Fictional character biography
Steppenwolf is a New God who is the younger brother of Heggra and the uncle of Uxas (Darkseid). He is also a member of Darkseid's Elite. He leads the military forces of Apokolips and rides a hover bike that may be at the same level of technology as Orion's.
Steppenwolf is one of the earliest survivors of Doomsday, the monster who once killed Superman. Two hundred and forty-five thousand years ago, Steppenwolf takes an Apokolips shuttle with Darkseid, Master Mayhem and a small crew to the planet of Bylan 5. The planet holds delicate natural materials Apokolips needs for weaponry, material which would be destroyed in the event of an invasion. The forcible marriage of Darkseid to the planet's princess comes to an end when Doomsday attacks. Master Mayhem is swiftly torn apart. Darkseid ignores Steppenwolf's orders to use omega beams and engages the creature in hand-to-hand combat. Steppenwolf sees that the destruction that has been wrought has doomed the planet, and all who live on it. He teleports Darkseid out of harm's way, agreeing with Darkseid not to mention this to anyone. Doomsday escapes by stowing away on the Apokolips shuttle.
Most of Steppenwolf's appearances under the pen of Jack Kirby are in flashbacks: his debut, in New Gods #7, was a flashback story where he is introduced and helped Darkseid murder the wife of Darkseid's hated rival, Highfather. Highfather later tracks down and kills Steppenwolf in retaliation as the murder reignites the war between the two sides. After later showing up alive and well in the seemingly non-canon (despite Jack Kirby's involvement) 1985 Super Powers mini-series, Steppenwolf's entry in Who's Who in the DC Universe clarified that he had been resurrected by Apokoliptian technology.
Steppenwolf appears later when Mister Miracle gains godlike powers over life and death. He torments Scott Free over his role in killing Scott's mother (or alleged mother figure as is claimed) and in return is physically tortured. Free ends up healing him, instead of killing him as he desires. He is sent away with Darkseid's legions.
He is seen in New Gods V2 #6, with a new costume (a Kirby redesign for the figure's Super Power action figure). Though considered a "mockery", Steppenwolf is given the job of running Darkseid's military forces. He is later seen fighting the Flash (Barry Allen) and the Justice League of America.
In the pages of Terror Titans #2, Steppenwolf appears as a member of the board of the Dark Side Club. He is killed by Clock King, who was using the club for gladiator fights and simple cruel amusements.
The New 52
With The New 52 reboot that takes place following the 2011 Flashpoint limited series, a new version of Earth-2 (home of the Justice Society of America) is introduced. In the continuity of that parallel world, Steppenwolf leads a massive invasion of the planet by Darkseid's parademons. Ultimately, Earth's heroes manage to successfully repel the invaders, but the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman of that world are all killed in battle. Five years later, Steppenwolf is apparently hiding on Earth-2 and there is a $300 million reward for him. He is eventually killed by that world's version of Bizarro, whom Steppenwolf had employed as a soldier and indoctrinated into fighting for Apokolips.
Steppenwolf also appears briefly in an issue of Justice League within The New 52 taking part in the torturing of Superman on the Prime Earth. Steppenwolf is seen as support for Darkseid when he moves to attack the Anti-Monitor.
Powers and abilities
Steppenwolf is an immortal with vast superhuman strength, endurance and speed, capable of lifting about one hundred tons and jumping huge distances easily. Also, he has superhuman reflexes and a high degree of invulnerability, which increases with his battle armor and allows him to resist most physical and energetic attacks. He is an experienced military leader, having served as the head of Apokolips's armed forces, and when going into battle personally often commands units of the dog cavalry - warriors riding enormous dogs, known for the carnage and mass deaths he causes when he leads forces. Steppenwolf wields several weapons, including a cable-snare in which he can entrap opponents and from which he can fire lethal radion beams. His main weapon is his electro-axe. He is a master swordsman and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant forged in hundreds of battles.
In other media
- Steppenwolf is featured in the TV shows set in the DC Animated Universe:
- Steppenwolf was seen in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips Now" voiced by Sherman Howard. He led a horde of Parademons against the city of Metropolis in his search for Superman. Steppenwolf's aircraft was then shot down by Dan Turpin (piloting an Army chopper) and fell into the ocean.
- Steppenwolf reappeared briefly in Part I of the Justice League episode "Twilight" voiced by Corey Burton. Retreating from an aborted invasion of a world under New Genesis's protection, Steppenwolf's ship was crippled and teleported, via Boom Tube, right into Darkseid's stronghold. Steppenwolf was presumably killed beforehand by Orion.
- Steppenwolf appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Duel of the Double Crossers" voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. He appears as Mongul's champion of the arena, Batman and some other alien gladiators end up fighting him. Steppenwolf was defeated when Jonah Hex came to the aid of Batman. Steppenwolf also appears in "Death Race to Oblivion". He raced on Mongul's behalf against the other heroes and villains for the fate of Earth. After losing the race to Batman, Mongul blasts Steppenwolf for his failure.
- Steppenwolf appears in the Justice League Action episode "Under a Red Sun", voiced by Peter Jessop. He is visually depicted similarly to the way he is in STAS. In a plot to become a legend on Apokolips, Steppenwolf transports himself and Superman to a planet where the sun is red. As Superman's powers don't work under a red sun, he had to use every tactic to fight Steppenwolf. After injuring his leg, Superman was able to knock Steppenwolf into the river where Superman subdued him by electrifying the water. By the time Batman and Big Barda track him down, Superman is using his cape as a cast and has a defeated Steppenwolf tied up.
- An alternative universe version of Steppenwolf makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in Justice League: Gods and Monsters.
DC Extended Universe
- Steppenwolf first appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in a scene entitled "Communion" which was not seen in the theatrical cut of the film. He was portrayed through the use of CGI effects.
- Steppenwolf appears in the 2017 film Justice League as the main antagonist who is voiced and motion-captured by Ciarán Hinds, for which he received advice from Liam Neeson (who had done similar motion capture work in A Monster Calls). Not unlike in the comics, the character is depicted as an alien military commander from the planet Apokolips who leads an army of Parademons. After he failed to conquer Earth millennia ago after being defeated by an army of humans, Amazons, Atlanteans, the Olympian Gods, and the Green Lantern Corps, Steppenwolf was exiled by his nephew and master Darkseid. When the three Mother Boxes that he had used in his original invasion attempt reactivate, and with the absence of the Green Lantern Corps and the death of Superman, Steppenwolf sees his chance to regain Darkseid's favor and retake his place on Apokolips, and he returns to Earth with his army in order to search for the Mother Boxes and take over the planet. In his final fight with the Justice League he overpowers the majority of them with ease, but is no match for the resurrected Superman and when Superman's Arctic breath compromises his axe and Wonder Woman destroys it, Steppenwolf gives in to a new-found sense of fear which his Parademons pick up on. His minions attack and overwhelm him, and they are all sucked up into a boom tube to be teleported back to Apokolips.
- Steppenwolf appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced by Peter Jessop.
- Doomsday: Year One Annual
- New Gods #7
- Who's Who in the DC Universe #22
- Mister Miracle #4 (July 1996)
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9
- Earth 2 #1 (July 2012).
- Justice League Vol. 2 #6 (April 2012)
- Justice League #43–45 (2015)
- Kendrick, Ben (June 21, 2016). "Justice League Movie Villain is Steppenwolf Not Darkseid". Facebook. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
- Mottram, James (March 29, 2017). "Ciaran Hinds on Bleed for This, playing a supervillain in Justice League and asking old friend Liam Neeson for motion-capture performance tips". The Independent. Retrieved April 11, 2017.