It’s not a mistake that Jack Kirby was the person who invented Darkseid. It’s not an accident, ya know? Darkseid is the character created by a man who fought fascists, in person, and wanted to make sure we understood why we needed to never go there again.

Darkseid is after the Anti-Life Equation, and it might not be what you think. This isn’t a formula that will kill people. It will, instead, kill all free will. That is the opposite of life, in Kirby’s mind. I can’t say he’s wrong.

Grant Morrison was the first person to write out the equation itself, and it showed how deeply he understood it:

loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side

Using the formula would enable Darkseid to control anyone by giving them a mathematical certainty that freedom, that hope, and life itself are all utterly pointless, and the only thing worth doing would be to conform to the will of Darkseid.

So how do you fight it? By holding freedom close. In comics it would often entail some form of actually writing the word “freedom” on yourself in one way or another (mostly as a sigil, in a sort of magic symbolism way) but the whole thing boils down to “Hold your freedoms tight, fight for them, do not lose yourself in hopelessness or else.”

That is the danger we face. That is what we must fight back against. And sure, there’s a level this is reduced and simplified for a comic so that a ten year old can understand it. That doesn’t make it any less true.

By Adam P. Knave

Adam P. Knave wrote this, but you knew that, since this is his site. That's kinda how it works.

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