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David Graves (Prime Earth)

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Quote1 The Justice League isn't coming to save me from this. No-one is coming to save me from this. So I'm going to save myself. Quote2
-- David Graves src

David Graves was a historian and published author, interested in fringe history. He wrote a series of books, on subjects such as Atlantis, the miracles of Fatima, the Nazca Lines, and how they could affect the modern world. During the very first adventure of the Justice League, David, his wife Jennifer, and his two children, Jason and Emma, came under attack by Darkseid's forces. Accepting what he believed to be his fate, and covering his children's eyes for their inevitable death, Graves and his family are saved by the superheroes that would eventually become the Justice League.

Believing that the superheroes were a modern incarnation of the gods of antiquity, he set out to research a book about the heroes. It became his most popular title, "Justice League: Gods Among Men".

Unfortunately, within a year of the formation of the Justice League, Graves had developed an unspecified malady which left him trapped in a wheelchair and unlikely to last another year. Faced with the knowledge that his family was gone and the heroes were not going to save him, he snapped, shot his doctor, and vanished.[1]

In the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, David Graves battled extreme weather as he searched for something near Mount Sumeru, a place known by some for its connection to the afterlife. David encountered a large deity with six arms, one of the Asuras. Exhausted, David begged for help. Instead the deity told David he needed to complete the journey on his own power. At the urging of this deity, David continued to head toward a mystic temple of some sort; at first rowing his small boat, then attempting to walk, and finally crawling the rest of the way. David was looking to reunite with his deceased family members, and saw them in spirit form. The deities told Graves he would rejoin his family, and would have his vengeance, thereupon incorporating themselves into Graves' body painfully.[2]

Four years later, David Graves returns completely unrecognizable from his former self, with the faces of his children on his inner forearm. Vowing to destroy the Justice League for their hubris, he then breaks into The Black Room, which is A.R.G.U.S.' secret storage facility where they keep the world's most powerful mystical items, stealing the Orb of Ra.

Later, he writes in his journal the best way to destroy the Justice League would be through their public liaison Steve Trevor, who he mails a copy of Justice League: Gods Among Men.[3]

Graves interrogates The Key and Weapons Master, in order to discover their weakness. His then kidnapped Steve Trevor and tortured him. Graves got Trevor to break by threatening to kill his family.[1]

After the Asuras attacked Steven Trevor, Graves showed up at the Watchtower, using Steve Trevor's access code to get past the satellite's security system. Wonder Woman wanted to know what Graves did to Steve Trevor, and lunged at him, but he seemed to use occult powers to suck the life out of her, leaving her emaciated and in shock. Demons helped him accomplish this; demons he first encountered in the Pamir Mountains. The other members of the Justice League also tried to attack him, with Superman being the last to fall to these mystical powers.[2]

After that initial assault, Graves attacked the minds of the Justice League, causing them to relive their worst memories. Once they recovered, they tried to follow him to Washington, D.C., but were too late to find him. As Wonder Woman lashed out against Green Lantern and Superman in fear and frustration at not being able to find Trevor, Graves managed to record this fight and broadcast it worldwide.[4]

In a cave in the Himalayas, the Justice League were face-to-face with their greatest weakness: their dead loved ones, and Cyborg with his own human soul. After the real Steve Trevor stumbled into view, breaking the illusion of Trevor's ghost being present, the ghosts, who had been begging the heroes to join them in the afterlife, turned into monsters and trapped them in magic ice. David Graves stepped out and explained that he had been trying to make them and the world better, making the heroes face their loved one in order to refocus them into better heroes, and giving Wonder Woman, a demigoddess without much stake in the world, a similar tragedy to bind her to them. He planned to unleash the ghosts upon the world, giving people the chance to be with their loved ones.

After Aquaman broke the ice, the heroes engaged Graves in combat once more. In the aftermath, Graves had a breakdown at being seperated from the ghosts of his family. Batman, who read Graves' books as research, explains that the "ghosts" were pretas - a preta being a parasite spirit that Graves wrote about before. They were using Graves as part of their plans. Graves clung to the story of empowerment by deceased family because he could not face the alternative.

In Belle Reve prison, Graves was visited by the facility's warden, Amanda Waller, after being processed. She said that while the pretas hampered his condition somewhat, she could use his expertise, and handed him a typewriter, suggesting he write a book while in prison entitled "How To Defeat The Justice League".

David Graves began working on something with the working title of "The Villain's Journey".[5]


  • Investigation: Graves is a historian and a writer, able to assess his field to find evidence to strengthen his arguments.
  • Geoff Johns described David Graves as a character who would take the classical monomyth or "heroe's journey" narrative device, and turn it on it's head, illustrating how a villain would go through a twisted version of it, becoming a major threat for the Justice League.


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