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Despero (New Earth)

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Quote1 I'm going to have Batman do things to you... that he never even knew he was capable of. Quote2
-- Despero src

Justice League of America Vol 1 1

Despero in his first battle with the JLA

Despero has gone through virtually as many transformations as the League itself. Initially appearing as a physically weak, mind-controlling tyrant with a penchant for playing chess for the fates of his enemies, he later surfaced to be a physical powerhouse fueled by his burning, all-consuming hatred of the Justice League.


Despero's most famous battle against the Justice League established him as being driven by his utter and all-burning hatred for the Justice League, to the point that his hatred allowed for him to survive death and regenerate his body through sheer willpower. He attacked the Justice League as he had known it (previous incarnation - "Justice League Detroit" ) and then sought them out, eventually battling at the United Nations building (New York); he even donned the United Nations flag as a cape during the battle. The battle ended only through Martian Manhunter controversially employing a never before seen deus ex machina power to trick Despero into thinking he had successfully killed not only the Justice League, but all life on Earth, causing him to let go of his hatred and regressing to the form of a fetus. The fetus Despero was then given to Manga Khan in exchange for his robotic man-servant L-Ron.

Despero 002

As he appeared before his latest manifestation


Despero was aged back into adulthood and escaped back to Earth to continue his vendetta against the JLA. Despero attacked both the American and European Justice League teams and the murderous bounty-hunter Lobo (who had been hired to retrieve Despero for Khan) in Times Square, New York. Despero could only be stopped once again through desperate means; the robot L-Ron used the slave collar Despero wore to switch bodies with Despero, gaining his monstrous form while trapping him into L-Ron's powerful, if small, robotic form. Attacking the Justice League, Despero was defeated by an unlikely source, a duck hunter who shot him by mistake, destroying his robot body in the process. L-Ron then went into outer space with his new body before returning to Earth and joining the Justice League Task Force.[1]

Later Appearances

Although he was seemingly killed when L-Ron's body was destroyed, his mind somehow ended up returning to his body, where it was shown to be battling L-Ron for control of his original body. L-Ron succeeded in casting him out after Despero briefly regained control over his body, at which point he once again became a "free floating evil essence", able to possess innocent people. In this state, he confronted Young Justice, currently attempting to prove their maturity by tackling a crisis on their own; he initially sought to possess Superboy, seeing him as the most powerful host available - Robin was merely mortal and he could barely comprehend Impulse's chaotic mind, but eventually managed to take control of the Martian Manhunter, who had been watching the fight in case the teens required assistance. Using J'onn's primal fear of fire, they drove Despero out of his body, and he was subsequently banished to another dimension by Secret, although he apparently escaped.

Later he had joined forces with Johnny Sorrow in a plan to destroy the League and the Justice Society. He possessed President Lex Luthor, but was cast out of the President by Johnny Sorrow's own gaze and apparently returned to corporeal form. Despero defeats several teams of JSA/JLA and takes on Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Manhunter, Power Girl, and Hourman at the same time. Allowing the next wave of Green Lantern Kyle, Original GL, Firestorm, Captain Atom, and Zatanna to attack using their full powers right after the psychical attack. Despero withstood all of that and more before eventually falling to the stare of Johnny Sorrow.

Years later, in the wake of Identity Crisis, the JLA was attacked by a reformed Secret Society of Super Villains that once again knew the heroes' alter-egos. The Martian Manhunter discovered Despero was responsible for the restoration of the Society's memory. After a telepathic battle with both Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, Despero takes control of them as well as Batman, but not before Catwoman can summon the Justice League.

In the ensuing battle, Despero mentally takes control of the Green Arrow, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and the Black Canary. After nearly taking control of Superman, Red Tornado arrives and saves Superman. As Despero moves to attack Tornado with the members of the League he has taken control of, Zatanna arrives and stops him. After he was defeated, Despero was taken by Hal Jordan into Oa's custody.


A young Despero in his original human form is later plucked from the time stream by Mister Mind, and is convinced to join a group called "The Time Stealers". The villains successfully create an alternate universe that differs significantly from the original. Hero Booster Gold and several allies (Rip Hunter and the Justice League International) eventually undo the change and restore the original universe.

Despero briefly allied with villains Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma and became god-like until stopped by the combined efforts of Superman; Batman and Wonder Woman. Despero returns to attack the Justice League and almost finishes the washed out League. However, just in the nick of time, Zatanna Zatanna arrives to inform them of the ongoing Blackest Night, and in the process saves them and holds off Despero just long enough to send him away. She attempts to teleport him to the center of the Earth, but before being able to do so, her spell is interrupted and he is pulled away to somewhere unknown by some unknown force.

At the request of human computer Vril Dox, Despero joins in the fight against the original Starro, that controls all other versions and is conquering the galaxy. Despero engages Starro in combat and although easily destroyed begins to regenerate into a new form while his foes think him dead, which was always the villain's intent. Vril Dox uses Despero's still living head as a weapon against Starro and its forces, and uses Psion technology to accelerate his regrowth.


  • Alien Physiology: Despero is an alien with a webbed fin on top of skull, third eye in middle of his forehead and glowing eyes. His physiology has changed over time due to exposure to the Flame of the Pytar and several other unique evolutions over the coarse of his life.
    • Telekinesis
    • Telepathy: His hypnotic third eye is directly connected to his brain, giving him telepathic powers that on one occasion have been depicted as surpassing those of the Martian Manhunter.[3]
      • Illusion Casting
      • Mind Control: One of Despero's primary abilities is to take control of his opponent's minds.[4]
      • Mind Reading: Despero is a highly adept mind reader even besting J'onn in a pyschic duel more than once.[5]
  • Magic: At a certain point, Despero obtained the Flame of the Py'tar giving him powerful new abilities which supplemented his own.

Despite his size and strength, he favors his mental abilities first.[8]

    • Self-Biological Manipulation: More than once, Despero has shown he has a near perfect physiological mastery of his own person, having more than once been decomposed at the molecular level only to recreate himself from scratch yet more powerful than ever before.[9]
      • Regeneration: Possessing a healing factor of impressive strength, despite his nigh invulnerability to harm, Despero can and has suffered critical abrasion. Through unknown means, he is capable of biological regeneration to a vast degree. He is capable of regrowing himself from a fetus and recreating his body from a severed head.[9][10]
    • Teleportation
    • Reality Alteration (formerly): Through his connection with the Py'tar, Despero had vast matter and energy reconstructive capabilities. He was able to turn local buildings and city blocks into a fortress, transform a skyscraper into a dragon that answered his beck and call and transmogrify rubble into vicious demons.[11]


  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985-86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • In his first appearance, Despero used a teleportation machine which resembled a chess set. It used pieces shaped like the Leaguers to move them to different locations. The machine was subsequently shown to be in the possession of the Weapon Master.


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