December 6, 2023

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #361: Grayven

For a god of evil, Darkseid sure has a lot of sons.

I tend to write these a few weeks in advance, mostly so I can proofread them later and make sure everything turned out well because I almost always make a typo of some kind.  Somehow, though, I had forgotten that I had set up the end of the Effigy entry with the promise I would cover another of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner’s enemies that was created just for Kyle and not someone left over from somewhere else.  Then I just plain forgot to do just that.

That just means I can cover that guy today, that other son of Darkseid named Grayven.

Most fans of DC’s New Gods recognize that Darkseid has two sons.  There’s Kalibak, the misshapen son who works with his father and is often a disappointment because he’s probably not that bright.  Then there’s Orion, the son raised by Darkseid’s enemy High Father to be Darkseid’s greatest enemy.  But Grayven?  Where’d that guy come from?  The short answer is he’s the son of Darkseid by an unknown mother, and he may have escaped Darkseid’s knowledge initially.  Carving a path of destruction across the cosmos, he first appeared in Green Lantern #74 in June of 1996 by writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks.  He had great strength and, unlike other sons of Darkseid, a little bit of Darkseid’s Omega power.  Not the full force of it, but just enough to cause a lot of destruction all on his own.  Grayven was hitting planet after planet, taking out all kinds of Darkstars, enough to eventually get some help from the at-the-time only Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.

Grayven was defeated by Kyle, and most of his superhero fights would be against Kyle, even when Kyle had the power of Ion, making him the most powerful Green Lantern in the universe.  He did eventually come to Darkseid’s notice, though.  During the Our Worlds at War storyline that ran through the various Superman titles plus a bunch of special issues for other characters, Grayven was brainwashed by Brainiac 13 and attacked Darkseid and Superman on Apokalips.  Superman prevailed, and Darkseid decided the kid was his responsibility.  That meant punishment for Grayven since he was kind of an embarrassment to Darkseid.

That apparently meant banishment to the center of the Earth for a period.

Now, Grayven did get out, and unlike either of his brothers, he did gain a bit of his father’s knack for plotting and scheming.  That actually led to his downfall.  In preparation for the Final Crisis, writer Grant Morrison basically said the New Gods were going to be removed from the field, so to speak, and DC decided that meant doing a big Death of the New Gods mini-series written and drawn by Jim Starlin.  Said mini-series didn’t really connect to the Final Crisis or the abysmal Countdown to Final Crisis, a storyline so convoluted and stupid everyone decided to ignore it about five minutes after the last issue came out.   To prep for Stalin’s work, a number of lesser New Gods were killed off by a mysterious assailant.  That included Grayven, but he tried to be crafty about it.

See, he was building a special zeta beam generator.  That was in a special issue of an Outsiders mini-series where each issue showed two heroes teaming up with the idea one or both of them would be on the new Outsiders team.  For this issue, it was Black Lightning’s daughter Thunder and the Martian Manhunter.

Why have I not done Thunder in this series?  Never mind.

Regardless, Grayven’s plan was to beam the mystery killer to Darkseid’s throne room and let them fight each other.  Whoever won would only be good for Grayven, and while it looked like the heroes might have been helping, J’onn in the end shapeshifted into the Black Racer, the New Gods’ own Grim Reaper, and tricked Grayven into the beam instead.  That led to Grayven’s meeting his own end at the hands of the mystery killer.

That seems to be his last comic book appearance, though he did have a silent cameo on an episode of Young Justice.

You know, after the Effigy entry, Watson asked me what Kyle Rayner himself has been up to lately.  That is a very good question…and if the pattern holds, not one I will answer next week.  Oh well.