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DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

Every great villain needs a few specific kinds of employees. There are the cannon fodder troops, the brutally strong sub-boss, maybe an underhanded lawyer or PR guy... and of course, the happy torturer.

There is no more fearsome place in all the universe than the planet Apokolips, where Desaad is the right-hand man of the planet's cruel overlord, the godlike Darkseid. Desaad has a favored place in Darkseid's court, specializing in devising super-weapons and torture devices for his ruler. Few ever speak openly against DeSaad, knowing that he has spies everywhere. Regardless of his slight stature and lack of powers, he commands fear and deference from Apokolips' endless array of villains and monsters.

Desaad hails originally from New Genesis, not Apokalips. Darkseid visited him there (before taking the name "Darkseid," when he was still regular ol' Uxas) and began the boy's corruption. Desaad helped Uxas murder his brother Drax (but not that Drax) to steal the power of the Omega Effect. Years later, Darkseid's mother Heggra used Desaad to poison her son's wife Suli, and in return, he had Desaad poison Heggra in return. For a weasely little guy, he's sure got his fingers in a lot of history-changing pies!

Desaad is one of the "Super Powers"-based updates (as made quite clear by the logo printed on his oval base), so like that old toy, he's wearing a big technological harness thing. One that's called, no kidding, his "vibro-shocker," so step right up, ladies! The original was a molded [and chromed! --ed.] piece of the figure's torso, but this one is removable. And articulated! The two "arms" coming out of the chest have swivel joints, so they can wrap around Desaad's sides, or swing forward to glom onto the head of his victim. There are flexible hoses attached to control sticks, and two more that run from the chest to the backpack; better than running into the sides of his head, like before. All the technological details on the vibro-shocker come straight from the old toy, just done better.

Since the device comes off, you can have a plain Desaad. His robes have huge wrinkles over the chest that suggest he's wearing something a few sizes too big for him. He has new boots, if you flip up his robe to look at them, and his hood drapes slightly to the left. He gets the appropriately bushy eyebrows and stringy hair falling over his forehead, and the Four Horsemen have opted to give him a noticable overbite.

Paint is decent, all around. Desaad's robes are purple tending toward magenta, with darker trim around all the edges. His pants are dark purple, and his boots are brass colored with thick leather straps around the shins. His vibro-shocker is more "gray" than "silver," but it has gold detailing, black panels and even some blue accents. There are no surprises in the articulation - even the chest works, since they designed his robe around it.

Desaad is the figure in Series 12 that doesn't include a part of the BAF Darkseid, just the base we mentioned before and the celebratory 75th Anniverary collector pin. His shows the cover of Action Comics #829... sort of. See, this issue was part of the leadup to Wonder Woman snapping Max Lord's neck, and sold out fast; the pin, for whatever reason, uses the recolored second printing cover rather than the original.

Desaad takes his name, obviously, from the Marquis de Sade - both here in the real world and in the world of comics. No, seriously: he chose his "god name" based on looking into the future and finding someone who gave him inspiration for his torture techniques (though in reality, de Sade didn't do anything all the other nobles weren't already doing, and the violence in his novels is rather pedestrian, all things considered). If he were permanently trapped inside his silly Super Powers accessory, this figure wouldn't be very impressive, but since he's not, it's another great addition to a quickly growing Fourth World collection.

-- 06/09/10

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