The Apokolips: Season 10

Let’s look at the facts. Smallville is on it’s 9th season, Clark is in a costume saving people, Lois Lane is falling in love with him, we’re based in Metropolis, and frankly if they had the rights they’d be calling him Superman by now. There’s no question he’s progressed to the point of super-hero. With that role comes super-villains, namely beings like Brainiac, Doomsday and Zod (twice). Metallo is lined up for next week’s episode.

We also had several episodes focused on the budding Justice League, and a scheduled Justice Society episode later on down the road. Smallville has outgrown itself and become a DCWU. With powers-that-be pushing for another year, it occurs to me the threats are going to become increasingly large, until finally Clark IS Superman in the series finale (which I hope is done as a TV movie).

So keeping escalating threats in mind, who is left in the notable Superman rogue’s gallery? It would have to be someone with a large network that could provide a season or more worth of trouble. He’d also have to be able to match, or even overpower, Clark physically and mentally. He’d have to prove the greatest challenge Clark has ever faced, the last true test, the REAL Destroyer. Darkseid, ladies and gentlemen, his name is Darkseid.

Background

Darkseid is a veritable god of evil, perhaps the most powerful villain in the entire DCU. He lords the planet Apokolips, a fiery pit world filled with his depraved, fanatic worshipers. Darkseid’s driving goal is something called the Anti-Life Equation, a formula that would unmake the universe and rebuild it in his image, with himself as God. Apokolipian technology is beyond even the Kryptonians’ in scope. Using sentient computers called Motherboxes, they’re capable of transporting anywhere in the universe through portals called boomtubes. Comic lore first introduced Darkseid and Apokolips through a Metropolis crime syndicate called Intergang, which used advanced, Apokolipian technology to pull off crimes.

The only thing that’s stopped Darkseid from total universal conquest is Apokoplip’s sister planet, New Genesis, inhabited by the benevolent New Gods led by the prophetic Highfather. Ages of bloody war between the two planets eventually led to a ceasefire, marked by the exchange of Darkseid and Highfather’s sons as a sort of collateral. Darkseid’s son Orion was raised as a good man as Highfather’s own, though exhibits traces of his real father’s temper (and strength). Highfather’s son Scott Free was subjected to horrible tortures in the orphanage of one of Darkseid’s most wicked minions, Granny Goodness, but managed to prove the impossible time and again with his daring escapes. He eventually escaped the planet entirely, earning the name Mr. Miracle.

Translation

Now how do you translate Darkseid, Apokolips, Intergang and New Genesis into Smallville? Quite easily, actually.

Darkseid is typically portrayed as a gray, stone-skinned titan in blue-and-silver. His eyes burn red, ready to unleash his signature Omega Beam, a maximum power laser vision capable of turning corners and following targets. More important is his demeanor, merciless, supremely confident, calculating, always having a plan within a plan, always in control. Arguably the best portrayal of the character was in the DC animated universe, voiced by none other than Michael Ironside. He rather resembles the character as well, and wouldn’t you know it, Ironside has already portrayed Lois’s father, a high-ranking general. Given Smallville’s penchant for vessels, Darkseid’s initial presence couldn’t be more perfect than a possessed General Lane/Michael Ironside. Not only does it open up possibilities of manipulating government agencies and sabotaging defenses, it also intimately involves Lois and creates some genuine difficulties for Clark. Eventually, after the expulsion of Darkseid from the general, a finale confrontation between Clark and the true Lord of Apokolips in the minutes before the invasion could give fans the pleasure of an all-out brawl in an alien throne room (and subsequently make up for the Doomsday cop out).

Apokolips itself is as easy as a red filter and a few minor fire effects, not much more complicated than scenes from the Phantom Zone. Truthfully, very little time would be spent on the hellish planet, anyway, as the vanguard forces are the focal point. And what a fun rogue’s gallery of Apokolipsian forces there are. There’s the previously mentioned Granny Goodness, a bulging hag of a woman (and in some cases questionably a man in drag) who serves as Darkseid’s chief brainwasher. She trains the master’s elite fighting force, the Female Furies, girls kidnapped from various planets and brainwashed into depraved soldiers. As the comics have already explored, there’s potential for a few Kara episodes tied up in this. Then there’s the man-beast Kalibak, another son of Darkseid, one that is constantly berated and always looking to prove himself. His strength is fairly equal to Clark and could offer another shot at actual fighting, something this show really needs to get right. Then there’s Darkseid’s number two man, Desaad, the master torturer. He’s often overseeing his lord’s various plots and takes pleasure from others’ pain.

Intergang is the easiest of all to implement. All it takes is one heist with futuristic weapons and we’re off and running. Clark would certainly notice the upgrade in firepower and over several episodes could trace the technology to Desaad or Granny. While Morgan Edge was originally the crime boss who made a deal with Darkseid for the weaponry, in other versions Mannheim runs Intergang. Given his introduction into the series last season, Mannheim fits nicely (and to the actor’s credit, I think he should return in future episodes regardless).

New Genesis will likely never be seen, but certainly Orion or the New God Lightray could make visits to the real world. The New Gods all look human in appearance and it would be no difficult feat for them to boomtube to Earth on the Apokolipsians trail. After Clark defeats Granny or Desaad, it might be necessary in order to advance the plot and explain who Darkseid is. The New Gods are not all perfect, though, and think themselves superior to mortals. It would take Clark to school them in humility and earn their friendships.

If Doomsday makeup and Legion visits have taught us anything, it’s that the larger, more cosmic, storylines are doable.

Integration

While this grand storyline is possible, how do you integrate it into the current plots in Smallville. Much of the legwork has already been done. While certainly not the only way to do things, here’s my spin…

That orb in Mercy’s possession is not Kryptonian. It’s a Motherbox. New Genesis saved the Kryptonian city of Kandor from destruction, but the orb was lost on Earth after Apokolipsian forces attempted to seize it. Now Darkseid is speaking through the orb, trying to use Mercy to establish contact with Earth. He succeeds by the end of Season 8, Mercy replaced by Granny Goodness as head of Luthorcorp (I’d prefer getting a mannish old woman for this role, but I fear they’ll want to keep a possessed Mercy).

Granny helps found Intergang in Season 9 while Desaad acts as head of Queen Industries, putting them down a much more military contract and weapons path. Clark spends the season taking down Intergang, while Oliver wrests control of his company back from Desaad, and after a finale confrontation involving boomtubes and hints of invasion, Orion appears to offer warnings of Darkseid’s coming.

  • Kara gets an episode or two when she’s brainwashed by Granny and joins the ranks of the Female Furies out to exterminate the troublesome Clark.
  • I’d also like to see a Mongul episode, where the lord of Warworld comes to Earth himself in order to take this Blur back as a new gladiatorial attraction. His defeat could spawn a Black Mercy episode in Season 10 (described below).
  • And if I can be overly clever, I’d love to get around copyright laws and have a Bruce Wayne episode. It’s doable. Luthorcorp/Queen Industries are looking to merge with an unnamed company, rumored to be based out of Gotham. A young, handsome investigator under the alias of Matches Malone is investigating the merger. Initially Matches is suspected of corporate espionage by Clark, but the two end up working together to publicly expose some of Luthorcorp/Queen Industries’ illegal dealings and spoil the merger (thereby saving the company Matches’ parents built). There’d be plenty of opportunities to hint through play of words and foreshadow the tenuous relationship Superman and Batman will have in the future. Lois could be covering the story, and also add a romantic rivalry into the mix.

Season 10 involves the reforming of the Justice League in anticipation of the Apokolipian invasion (not as easy as it might sound after the way in which they broke up) and the possession of General Lane by Darkseid himself. The stakes get higher as Darkseid positions is many pawns for the ultimate checkmate, even as Lois digs deeper and deeper and eventually uncovers her father behind the coming apocalypse. Orion guest stars along the way, having learned humility from Clark, as he tries to convince Highfather of Darkseid’s plot. Only after Kalibak foolishly comes to Earth in hopes of killing Clark, whose been so troublesome to Darkseid’s efforts, does Highfather investigate further. The furious Darkseid steps up the timetable of his plans and everything escalates to a mind-blowing last few episodes, Clark expelling Darkseid from General Lane, the Justice League and all past hero guest stars defending earth from the invasion, and Clark, now Superman, taking a boomtube to Apokolips itself to rescue Orion and put an end to Earth’s greatest threat.

  • Depending on the legality issues, I’d desperately want to see a Wonder Woman episode. The Queen of Themiscyra is visiting Metropolis for a meeting of international world leaders. However someone is out to kill her. Luckily the queen has brought her daughter with her, Diana Prince, who foils the attempt. Clark arrives on the scene too late to stop the gunmen from firing, but watches in amazement as Diana miraculously deflects the bullets with her bracers. A magical vanishing act by the assassins leaves a dumbfounded Clark, who Diana accuses of being behind the attempt. Clark and Diana duke it out a bit, the princess getting a few nice hits, before he manages to reason with her. The two work together to uncover the source of the magically disappearing assassins, revealing some Greek mythical background on Diana, and eventually revealing Circe as the mastermind behind it all. At the end Clark offers her a spot on the Justice League, which she’ll think about.
  • In a followup to last season’s Mongul episode, the lord of Warworld, humiliated, enacts his revenge by sending Clark a mysterious birthday gift. The gift leaps out of the box, the alien Black Mercy plant, which plunges anyone it wraps around into a dreamlike state. In this state, victims experience their deepest desires. Clark revels in a mix of Smallville and Krypton, and we finally get to see Terrance Stamp as Jor-El! Meanwhile, back in the real world, Mongul is gloating over Clark. Either Clark eventually pulls away from the plant himself and goes on to defeat Mongul, or we can go the more fanboy route and have Diana and Matches Malone both try and surprise Clark on his birthday, only to encounter each other, and then encounter Mongul at the Kent ranch. Diana can barely hold off Mongul and Matches tries everything he can think of to eventually get the Black Mercy off Clark.
  • Clark successfully stops the invasion, but doesn’t immediately return. In the final few minutes of the series finale, the Justice League, inspired by Superman’s apparent sacrifice, dedicate themselves full time to protect the world. Even better, Michael Rosenbaum returns, as does Lex Luthor, having collected majority shares of Luthorcorp and converting it to Lexcorp. While Superman is missing, he rebuilds his company stronger than ever before, utilizing Desaad and Granny’s remnant bits of technology to usher in a new era of technological advancement (including the eventual Luthor purple-and-green power suit). Lois never gives up hope her hero is still out there, and the very end of the series Superman flys down onto her balcony and takes her for a ride, eventually floating above the Daily Planet and promising everything we ever wanted out of a Superman franchise.