|First appearance||New Gods #1 (February 1971)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer/artist)|
|Place of origin||New Genesis, formerly Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||New Gods|
Justice League International
Jack Kirby era
Orion originally appeared in New Gods #1 (February–March 1971) which was part of Jack Kirby's Fourth World titles published in the early 1970s. Other titles included in this metaseries were Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Mister Miracle and The Forever People. When the titles were canceled, Orion and his fellow New Gods characters were unseen until DC returned to the Fourth World concept a few years later.
Return of the New Gods
Following an appearance in the final issue of 1st Issue Special, DC revived both the New Gods and Mister Miracle series, continuing the numbering from the original series. The new stories were done without Jack Kirby and featured a number of changes of concept for the character of Orion. The character's "Astro Harness" and trademark helmet were replaced by a more standard superhero costume with a yellow mask. The New Gods title was again canceled in 1978 but the story was wrapped up in two issues of Adventure Comics featuring a "final battle" between Orion and his father, Darkseid. In this battle Darkseid was supposedly annihilated.
This version of Orion returned in a three–issue arc of Justice League of America in which most of the New Gods were captured by the forces of Apokolips. Orion and his fellow New Gods, Metron, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda, summoned the aid of the Justice League and Justice Society to aid them in freeing the forces of New Genesis. This story featured the return, and eventual defeat, of Orion's father.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Orion was featured in the 1989–1990 series New Gods vol. 3 and served a short stint in the Justice League with his friend Lightray during the Keith Giffen/J. M. DeMatteis run. Orion returned as a main character in New Gods vol. 4 which was later relaunched as Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Orion again served as a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's tenure on the title, but the character would not receive his own title until 2000.
Orion was a series penciled and written by Walt Simonson, centered around the eponymous character and which ran for 25 issues (June 2000–June 2002). John Byrne filled in as penciller for the main stories in issues 13 and 14. Issues #1–5 were reprinted by DC Comics in the trade paperback The Gates of Apokolips. Also included as reprints were portions from the Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant #1 and the Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #2.
A backup that ran consistently in the Orion book was "Tales of the New Gods". Simonson invited fellow artists and writers to provide a short story often supplementing the issue's main action.
Fictional character biography
Orion is the second son of Darkseid; dictator of Hellish Apokolips. He is the half-brother of Kalibak and Grayven. He later marries Bekka, the daughter of Apokolips Resistance leader Himon. As a child, Orion was traded to New Genesis' benevolent leader Highfather for Scott Free, Highfather's own son, in The (peace) Pact between New Genesis and Apokolips. Raised as the son of Highfather Izaya, under his loving care, Orion was taught to control and focus his rage, and Orion grew to deeply value his adoptive home and its ideals. This path to maturity was not an easy task given that his heritage boiled with the rage of the brutal and merciless Darkseid. Learning how to control that dark nature consumed much of Orion's youth. However, on top of his adoptive parent's care, his friends among the New Gods, particularly Lightray, helped him channel his Dark Side toward the protection of his adopted homeworld New Genesis. As a result of that personal struggle, Orion's inherited traits and learned focus allowed Orion to become the most powerful warrior and hero of New Genesis. His fighting skill, stamina, relentlessness, and ruthlessness have earned him the nickname "The Dog of War", who still occasionally needs the aid of his Mother Box to help control his emotions when they threaten to get the better of him. Orion counts among his closest friends Lightray, Metron, Jezebelle, Scott Free, Big Barda, and Forager.
The 25–issue Walt Simonson series was designed to follow the continuity of the original Fourth World series and was published after John Byrne's Jack Kirby's Fourth World series ended. To flesh out the series, characters such as Fourth World stalwarts Lightray, Darkseid, Desaad, and Kalibak were used in addition to lesser used characters such as Orion's mother Tigra (early on in the series), Mortalla, and the Newsgroup Legion (an update of Jack Kirby's 1940's Newsboy Legion). A collection of all of Walt Simonson's Orion stories is scheduled for publication in July 2018.
During Simonson's series, Orion was able to obtain the Anti-Life Equation; a mathematical equation stating that "there is no free will, Only Darkseid". Darkseid has coveted the Anti-Life Equation for aeons to take complete control of the entire Multiverse. Orion's mother lied to him about Darkseid not being his father. He then went to Apokolips and confronted Darkseid about his parentage. They fought for control of Apokolips with Orion refusing to use the Anti-Life Equation as a matter of pride and his warrior's code. He defeated Darkseid and gained control of Apokolips. With the Anti-Life Equation, Orion went to Earth to begin creating intergalactic peace. He used the Anti-Life Equation to turn Earth into a utopian world by usurping all free will and following only his guidance. The lack of free will began disrupting the balance of the Multiverse as Earth is the linchpin holding it all together. It was then revealed that Darkseid, with guidance from Metron, allowed Orion to defeat him. They planned the defeat so that Darkseid could understand the potential of the Anti-Life Equation.
Orion has served two terms with the Justice League. He first demanded to join the League alongside his friend Lightray. They were accepted as Leaguers and stayed on until after the battle with the Evil Eye. Later, Orion and Big Barda were sent as agents of New Genesis to serve in the JLA. During his time in the League, Orion helped to defeat Starro when its actions put almost the entirety of North America to sleep and aided Green Lantern, Steel, Plastic Man, and Barda in capturing a White Martian that had regained its original memory. On one occasion, Orion and other Leaguers were abducted by the temporarily insane Adam Strange as part of a plot to defeat a telepathic race. Steel, John Henry Irons was forced to steal Orion's Mother Box and use it as a telepathic shield. Orion was enraged that his Mother Box was devoting to much energy and focus in keeping him calm to do anything else. Orion and Barda's central mission was to help mobilize Earth's heroes against the coming of the omnipotent, Old God tech-cosmic weapon known as Mageddon. Orion gave his Mother Box to Oracle for safe-keeping while he confronted Mageddon at full ferocity; channeling his inherited fury from Darkseid. Oracle used it to set up a telepathic, online network that could coordinate Earth's defending heroes as they fought to stop wars that Mageddon's mind controlling presence was inciting. Once Mageddon was defeated, Orion and Barda resigned from the Justice League.
Years later, Orion returns to Earth via Boom Tube for his final battle with Darkseid. During the celestial fight, Orion ultimately kills Darkseid by ripping his heart out. This created a firepit, like those on Apokolips, from Darkseid's chest cavity and fulfilling the prophecy of their final battle. As Darkseid dies, a battered, wounded Orion walks away from the battlefield having "won" the battle against his father once and for all.
Darkseid's life essence endured the death of his body and fell back in time and space; fracturing both as he fell toward his own personal Hell inside a black hole at the center of creation. As Darkseid fell, his essence was briefly reborn on Earth as Boss Dark Side. Darkseid's Elite had been killed as well and their essences possessed human bodies as well. Using the super-villain Libra, Darkseid successfully unleashed the Anti-Life Equation onto humanity and in the process, dragged Earth outside time and space, threatening the entire multiverse in the process. From this point, Darkseid sought his revenge against Orion by firing a time travel-based gun backwards in time to kill Orion once and for all. The bullet killed Orion, who by this point had realized that his father and his fellow evil New Gods still lived and were now possessing human beings as host bodies. With his last strength, Orion warns the man who finds his dying body, Detective Dan "Terrible" Turpin, that "They are not dead - He is in you all." His final command, appropriate for the Dog of War, is for humanity to "Fight..." before he finally dies.
Darkseid's murder of his son would ultimately backfire on him. Green Lantern John Stewart would recover the bullet that was used to kill Orion and give it to Batman, who would ultimately be forced to mortally wound Darkseid with the very same bullet Darkseid used to kill his own son; an irony that Superman pointed out when he described the murder of Orion as "suicide" on Darkseid's part, due to the fate of the bullet.
While many of the Gods from New Genesis were reborn following Final Crisis, Orion is not among them. Metron is seen standing over his astro-harness in effigy.
The New 52
In The New 52, a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe, Orion has appeared as a supporting character in the Wonder Woman title. After consulting with the Source, he first joins Wonder Woman in her search for a child which was abducted by the gods of Olympia.
Powers and abilities
Orion belongs to an extraterrestrial race of supernatural immortals known as the New Gods. As a New God, he possesses the standard superhuman attributes of strength, speed, stamina and durability on par with his father Darkseid as well as with Superman; being virtually indestructible, able to run at supersonic speeds up to orbital speed, and lift weights exceeding 100 tons. Although he is a highly skilled warrior, noted for a fierce warrior's instinct, his great rage and inner turmoil makes him impulsive and prone to violent, almost psychotic outbursts as he has inherited much of his father's darkness. He has access to a Mother Box that can calm his temper and change his appearance, "smoothing" out his coarse features. In addition, Orion possesses a regenerative healing factor, and is able to call upon his Mother Box to assist in healing injuries or to sustain his life energies. Like all other New Gods, Orion is vulnerable to a substance called Radion. The "Astro-Harness" is an alien artifact of unknown origin, capable of self-repair; flight at light speed; interstellar teleportation; energy projection and absorption; force field generation; and possesses a tractor beam. Orion's wristbands are virtually indestructible.
Orion is able to harness an interdimensional energy called the "Astro Force". While Orion himself is a conduit for the Astro Force, he can use either the Astro Harness or his Astro Wristbands as a valve through which he can project this energy. He uses the Astro Force primarily as a weapon, but once he was shown to be able to use the Astro Force to create an energy shield powerful enough to deflect Darkseid's otherwise unstoppable "Omega Effect". Like his father and all members of the Fourth World, Orion is immortal.
- In the graphic novel Kingdom Come, Orion has overthrown Darkseid and is the reluctant ruler of Apokolips. His aged and battle-scarred appearance is similar to that of his father's.
- In the Mister Miracle series of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, Orion is a large, muscular African-American man, seen pushing Metron's wheelchair.
- In the satirical miniseries Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, Orion is a dog named Orihound.
- In the Tangent Comics imprint, Orion is a superpowered being with transwarp powers that allow him to transport himself, others and objects anywhere on earth. He can transport beings across the Bleed into other universes with the aid of an additional power source such as Green Lantern Power Rings. He currently aids the Superman of Earth-9.
In other media
- Orion appears in the DC Animated Universe:
- Orion appears in Superman: The Animated Series episodes Apokolips...Now! part 1 and 2, voiced by Steve Sandor. In part 1, Orion comes to Earth to warn Superman of the impending invasion. Together he and Superman manage to turn back the first wave of attack but after Orion leaves, another attack comes and Orion can't be contacted. In part 2, Orion tells Darkseid that Earth is now under the protection of Highfather and any attack will be a breach of their treaty. Darkseid begins to retreat after a few words, and Turpin mocks him. Stating how no victory comes easily, Darkseid fires his Omega Beams at Turpin, killing him, then disappears into a boom tube. Superman, mad with grief, destroys Darkseid's tank. Orion then offers his condolences.
- Orion appears in the Justice League episodes "Twilight" part 1 and 2, voiced by Ron Perlman. He is depicted as being very serious when it comes to facing threats and fighting criminals. When he first appears in "Twilight", Orion helps the Justice League at the time when Darkseid was collaborating with Brainiac. He makes a short cameo in "Hereafter" as an attendant of Superman's funeral.
- Orion has made cameos in Justice League Unlimited, voiced again by Ron Perlman. In "The Return", Orion appears as one of the many heroes in the first line of defense against Amazo. In "Flash and Substance", Orion helps Batman at the time when the Flash was being targeted by Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, and the Trickster.
- In the final season of Smallville, during the episode "Dominion" it is mentioned that the last time Darkseid came to Earth he was defeated by a warrior named Orion, leaving behind a weapon known as the Bow of Orion. In the following episode, Orion is confirmed to be Darkseid's son who managed to turn away from the darkness of his father with the help of another person who raised him to embrace the light.
- Orion appears in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Robin Backwards" as a plushie. He appears in the Bizarro Titans Tower because he is the opposite of Darkseid.
- Orion appears in the third season of Young Justice, voiced by Ben Diskin. He is impersonated by Ma'alefa'ak when he attacks the Bugs of New Genesis.
- Although he does not make an appearance, Orion is referenced in the animated film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman travel to Apokolips with the help of Big Barda. Upon arrival, Batman makes use of an Astro-Harness, identical to the one used by Orion.
- An alternate universe version of Orion appears in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, voiced by Josh Keaton. Here, he grew up as royalty in Apokolips and was to be married to Bekka to merge the kingdoms as part of a supposed peace treaty, and Bekka saw something different in Orion compared to the other Apokolips residents. Orion gives Bekka an indestructible sword with a Boom Tube as a wedding gift. Bekka tries to get Orion to leave as the New Genesis residents slaughter the Apokolips royalty, but he goes back to fight and is killed by the Highfather. His death inspires Bekka to leave and eventually become the superheroine Wonder Woman.
- Orion appears in DC Universe Online.
- A statue of Orion's head is seen in the Hall of Justice stage in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- Orion appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Nolan North.
- Orion appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains.
- Kirby, Jack (w), Kirby, Jack (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "Orion Fights for Earth!" New Gods 1 (February–March 1971)
- Conway, Gerry; O'Neil, Dennis (w), Vosburg, Mike (p), Vosburg, Mike (i). "Lest Night Fall Forever!" 1st Issue Special 13 (April 1976)
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
The New Gods series and its original numbering was revived after a five-year break, with a story written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Don Newton.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "Writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers, having garnered acclaim for Detective Comics, picked up Mister Miracle where the series had ended three years before."
- Conway, Gerry (w), Newton, Don (p), Scotto, Augie (i). "Climax of Chaos" Adventure Comics 459 (September 1978)
- Conway, Gerry (w), Newton, Don (p), Scotto, Augie (i). "Pursuit to Eternity" Adventure Comics 460 (November 1978)
- Conway, Gerry (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Crisis on New Genesis or Where Have All the New Gods Gone?" Justice League of America 183 (October 1980)
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- New Gods vol. 3 at the Grand Comics Database
- New Gods vol. 4 at the Grand Comics Database
- Jack Kirby's Fourth World at the Grand Comics Database
- Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 296: "Comic book legend Walt Simonson brought his unique vision to one of Jack Kirby's greatest heroes on Orion, the first ongoing series to feature the most prominent of the New Gods."
- Giffen, Keith; DeMatteis, J. M. (w), McKone, Mike (p), Marzan Jr., José (i). "Solicitations" Justice League America 42 (September 1990)
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- Morrison, Grant (w), Jorgensen, Arnie (p), Meikis, David; Pennington, Mark (i). "Prometheus Unbound" JLA 17 (April 1998)
- Morrison, Grant (w), Howard Porter (p), Geraci, Drew (i). "World War Three Part Six Mageddon" JLA 41 (May 2000)
- Azzarello, Brian (w), Chiang, Cliff (p), Chiang, Cliff (i). "Birth Right" Wonder Woman v4, 12 (October 2012)
- Starlin, Jim (2009). Death of the New Gods. DC Comics. ISBN 978-1401222116.
- Greenberger, Robert (2004). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 228. ISBN 978-0756605926.
- Beatty, Scot (2002). JLA:The Ultimate Guide to the Justice League of America. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0789488930.
- Simonson, Walt (w), Simonson, Walt (p), Wiacek, Bob (i). "The Lightless Path" Orion 21 (February 2002)
- Simonson, Walt (w), Simonson, Walt (p), Simonson, Walt (i). "Tough Love!" Orion 7 (December 2000)
- Fogel, Rich and Timm, Bruce (writers); Riba, Dan (director) (February 7, 1998). "Apokolips...Now, Part 1". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 38. The WB.
- Fogel, Rich and Timm, Bruce (writers); Riba, Dan (director) (February 14, 1998). "Apokolips...Now, Part 2". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 39. The WB.
- Fogel, Rich and Timm, Bruce (writers); Riba, Dan and Lukic, Butch (directors) (July 5, 2003). "Twilight". Justice League. Season 2. Episode 27. Cartoon Network.
- Fogel, Rich and Timm, Bruce (writers); Riba, Dan and Lukic, Butch (directors) (July 5, 2003). "Twilight". Justice League. Season 2. Episode 28. Cartoon Network.
- DeMatteis, J. M. (writer); Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (September 18, 2004). "The Return". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 8. Cartoon Network.
- Wayne, Matt (writer); Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (February 11, 2006). "Flash and Substance". Justice League Unlimited. Season 3. Episode 31. Cartoon Network.
- "Smallville Dominion Season 10, Episode 19, Aired 4/29/11". TV.com. 2011. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- Beedle, Tim (April 16, 2015). "Exclusive: First Look at the Justice League: Gods and Monsters Comic". DC Comics.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015.