The New Gods vol. 2 #1 featuring Orion.
Cover art by Paris Cullins.
|First appearance||New Gods #1,
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer & artist)|
|In story information|
|Place of origin||New Genesis,
|Team affiliations||New Gods
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, healing and durability,
The Astro Force (via the Astro-Harness),
Orion is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in New Gods #1 (February 1971), and was created by writer-artist Jack Kirby.
Orion was a series pencilled and written by Walt Simonson, centered around Jack Kirby’s Fourth World character, Orion. It was lettered by John Workman. Bob Wiacek would provide the inks on occasion, while Simonson would do the bulk of the inking. Colors were provided by Tatjana Wood and Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh. In the publishing continuity of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, it was published after John Byrne’s “Jack Kirby’s Fourth World” series ended.
Orion ran for 25 issues, from June 2000 to June 2002. Issues #15 and #25 were oversized and priced at $3.95 instead of the usual $2.50. Sales of the title would see a gradual decline in preorders, averaging under 14,000 copies mark during the second half of the book’s run. Sample sales are 14,372 copies for issue #15, and 11,891 for the last issue, #25.   John Byrne filled in as penciller for the main stories in issues 13 and 14, though Simonson did provide writing and pencilling duties on backup stories in both of those issues (although not under the banner of Tales of the New Gods), with Wiacek inking. 
Issues 1-5 were reprinted by DC Comics in the trade paperback The Gates of Apokolips. Also included as reprints were portions from the Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant, issue #1 and the Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant, issue #2.
A backup that ran consistently in the Orion book was Tales of the New Gods. Simonson invited fellow artists and, on occasion, writers to provide a short story often supplementing the issue’s main action.
Orion is the second son of Darkseid, half brother of Kalibak and Grayven, and the husband of Bekka. As a child, he was traded for Scott Free in a peace effort between New Genesis and Apokolips. Raised as the son of Highfather Izaya, he was taught to control his rage and anger, becoming the most powerful warrior either world has ever known. This in itself was not an easy task given that his heritage boiled with the rage of the brutal and merciless Darkseid. Learning how to control his dark nature consumed much of Orion’s youth, but as he grew, his friends among the New Gods helped him direct his anger. Orion counts among his friends Lightray, Metron, Jezebelle, Scott Free, Barda, and Forager. He is a hero dedicated to the ideals of New Genesis. His fighting skill and stamina have earned him the nickname “The Dog of War”.
The 25 issue Walt Simonson series was designed to follow the continuity of the original Jack Kirby’s Fourth World series, and was published after John Byrne’s “Jack Kirby’s Fourth World” series ended. To flesh out the series, characters such as Fourth World stalwarts Lightray, Darkseid, Desaad, and Kalibak, in addition to lesser used characters such as Tigra (early on in the series), Mortalla, and the Newsgroup Legion (an update of the Newsboy Legion) often supplied aid or ill intentions to the quick tempered Orion.
During Walt Simonson’s series, Orion was able to obtain the Anti-Life Equation (the source Darkseid was in search of). He then went to Apokolips and confronted Darkseid about his birth, and ended up fighting for control of Apokolips (he refused to use the Anti-Life Equation due to issues of pride and earning his destiny unaided). He defeated Darkseid and gained control of Apokolips. With the anti-life equation, Orion went to Earth to begin creating intergalactic peace. He turned Earth into a utopian world that began disrupting the balance of the universe. It was revealed that Darkseid, alongside Metron, allowed Orion to defeat him, so he could understand the potential of the anti-life equation.
Orion has served two terms with the Justice League. He first demanded to join the League alongside his friend, Lightray. Justice League of America #42, 9.90). They were accepted into the ranks and stayed on until after the battle with the Evil Eye. (Ibid #50) Later, he and Big Barda were sent as agents of New Genesis to serve in the JLA. (JLA #17, April 1998) During his time in the League, Orion helped to defeat the returned Starro when its actions put almost the entirety of North America to sleep, and also aided Green Lantern, Steel, Plastic Man, and Barda in capturing a White Martian that had regained its original memory. On one occasion, when he and some of the other Leaguers were abducted by the apparently-insane Adam Strange as part of a plot to defeat a telepathic race, Steel was forced to steal Orion’s mother box and use it as a telepathic shield; Orion was so enraged that the mother box was devoting too much energy to keeping him calm to do anything else. However, Orion and Barda’s central mission was to help mobilize Earth’s heroes against the coming of the omnipotent Mageddon. Once again, Orion abandoned his mother box, giving it to Oracle while he confronted Mageddon at full ferocity, Oracle using it to set up a telepathic online network that could coordinate the heroes as they fought to stop the wars that Mageddon’s presence was inciting. Once Mageddon was defeated, he and Barda resigned. (Ibid #41)
In 2008′s Death of the New Gods, Orion initially suspects the New Gods’ murderer to be his father, Darkseid, but discovers this is not the case when Darkseid is interrogated by Mister Miracle. He himself is then suspected by the other New Gods, leading to a showdown with Mister Miracle which Superman defuses. Orion ultimately challenges the God Killer to single combat, intending to sacrifice himself so his friends can discover the God Killer’s identity. He sees the killer approach and charges him on his Astro Harness, leading to his death in a cataclysmic explosion which blinds even Superman and causes him to realize exactly why the residents of New Genesis profess divinity. All that can be found of him afterwards is his empty helmet, and it is revealed that so great was his wrath that in his death, he perished whole and returned to the Source, as opposed to having his soul stolen like most other New Gods. After his death, his father Darkseid senses it and looks into the skies of Apokolips with a trace of sadness, declaring that their joined story has at last ended.
However, Orion’s death is less permanent than it appears. The Source itself manages to recover Orion’s soul, and restores him in a mute energy projection to face Darkseid, who now has access to the slain New Gods residual energies. Due to his lineage, Orion is able to tap into this same power source, putting him on an even footing with his father. Darkseid retreats when the Source moves to destroy Apokolips, claiming that their battle will only be delayed.
In the end, Darkseid attempts to directly claim the entire energy of the slain New Gods from Jimmy Olsen (who has been used as a living vessel for their power), only to fail thanks to the intervention of the Atom. It is then that Orion arrives via Boom Tube, apparently restored to his original body, to end his endless fight with Darkseid. In order to comply with the prophecy, he kills Darkseid by ripping his heart out, creating a firepit of Apokolips from Darkseid’s chest cavity. A battered, wounded Orion walks away evidently to die of his wounds, refusing any care or external help. Whether his resurrection would have been permanent in any case is unknown. He apparently succumbs to his injuries in a shipping yard, early in Final Crisis, with the Black Racer looming over him. With his last strength he warns the man who finds him, Detective Dan “Terrible” Turpin, that “They are not dead- He is in you all.” His final command, appropriate for the Dog of War, is for humanity to “Fight…” before he finally dies. It is revealed in Final Crisis #2 that he was killed by a special bullet, prompting an investigation from the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps.
Artwork in the Final Crisis Sketchbook indicates that Orion will return alongside the other New Gods.
Orion possesess superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability, on par with Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and Superman. He has access to a Mother Box that can calm his temper and temporarily change his appearance. In addition, Orion also possesses a regenerative healing factor, and is able to call upon his Mother Box to assist in healing injuries or to sustain his life energies. Like all other New Gods, Orion is vulnerable to a substance called Radion. The “Astro-Harness” is an alien artifact of unknown origin, capable of, self-repair; flight; energy projection and absorption; force field generation; and possesses a tractor beam. Orion’s wristbands are also virtually indestructible.
Orion also is able to harness an interdimensional energy called the “Astro Force”. While Orion himself is a conduit for the Astro Force, he can use either the Astro Harness or his wristbands as a valve through which he can project this energy . He uses the Astro Force primarily as a weapon, but once he was shown to be able to use the Astro Force to create an energy shield powerful enough to deflect Darkseid’s “Omega Effect”.)
In addition to his mainstream incarnation, Orion has been depicted in other fictional universes. In the graphic novel Kingdom Come, Orion has overthrown Darkseid and rules Apokolips. In the Mister Miracle series of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, Orion is a large, muscular african-american man, seen pushing Metron’s wheelchair. The satirical miniseries Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, Orion is a dog named Orihound.
Orion appears in Superman: The Animated Series (1996) episodes Apokolips…Now! part 1 & 2, voiced by Steve Sandor, and later appears in the Justice League (2001) episodes Twilight part 1 & 2 and the Justice League Unlimited episode Flash and Substance (2005), voiced by Ron Perlman .